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Edited and translated^ 

with an introduction 


Haecker, a German philosopher and re- 
ligious thinker, tran.slator of 'Kierkegaard 
and Newman, was deeply concerned with 
the harmony of faith and reason. This is 
the central theme of the Journal. Con- 
verted to Catholicism in 1920, Haecker 
was among the few who immediately 
recognized the character of ihe Nazi re- 
gime. He published his first article at- 
tacking it at the moment in which Hitler 
came to power. In consequence, he was 
arrested and, after his release, forbidden 
to lecture or to broadcast. His Journal 
was written at night, arid the pages hidden, 
as they were written, in a house in the 

This book, reminiscent in form of Pascal's 
Pensees, is his last testimony to the Lruth 
and a confession of faith that is a spon- 
taneous rejoinder to a particular moment 
in history. It is "written by a man intent, 
by nature, on the search for truth, and 
driven, by circumstance, to seek for it in 
anguish, in solitude, with an urgency that 
grips the reader. 


Theodor Haecker was a man of deep in- 
sight qnd rare intellectual integrity a 
"Knight of Faith" to use Kierkegaard f s 
expression. The testimony of this great 
Christian has an outstanding value. I 
thank Pantheon Rooks for making so mag- 
nanimoits and* moving a work as his diary 
available to ^ American reader. 

DDD1 DS7t,fl 

193 H133J 

193 H133J 


Journal in the night 



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Journal in the Night 



Translated from the German 

Alexander Dm 


Printed in Great Britain for 

Pantheon Books Inc., 333 Sixth Avenue, 

New Tork City 

First Edition 1950 

Printed by William Clowes & Sons, Ltd., London an,d Becclet 

M. H. 

in gratitude for 

continual kindness. 

Pixton: May September 



The Introduction needs a word of explanation, and 
perhaps of apology. Haecker's Journal in the Night is clear, 
complete and intelligible as it stands ; but Haecker is so little 
known outside Germany, that this seems the right occasion 
on which to say something about Haecker's importance. 
The Introduction is only concerned with that point, with so 
presenting the intellectual and historical background that 
Haecker's importance can be seen. There is little, therefore, 
about Haecker's books individually, a subject which may 
well be left aside until some of them are translated into 
English. Instead, there is a summarised account of the move- 
ment of thought in which his work took shape. This will, I 
hope, prepare the reader for the Journal, and forestall the 
misunderstandings that so easily supervene when the per- 
spective is left to chance. 

This compressed account includes a number of themes, 
any one of which might be treated at length. It would have 
been possible, and even easier, to omit one or another; but 
the clarity attained by not over-crowding the pages of the 
Introduction would, I believe, have been fictitious. Haecker's 
importance as a writer derives from his breadth of view, and 
this can only be conveyed by pointing out how and where 
the many themes in his work are related to the movement of 
thought of which it forms part. 

This movement of thought is fashionable at the moment 
under the name and guise of Existentialism'; but as a 
fashion it is a tree shorn of its branches and roots. The aim 
of the Introduction is, in one respect, to go behind this 
fictitious simplicity and to stress the historical links that, 
as a fashion, existentialism seems bent upon ignoring or 
perhaps denying. When existentialism is considered simply 



for a year or two he was at last able to realise his ambition, 
and through the generosity of a friend, went to the University 
in Berlin. It was there he laid the foundation of a thorough 
and wide knowledge of ancient and modern literature, 
though he could not afford to remain long enough to take 
a degree. On leaving Berlin he went into the offices of an 
export company, a life that was not made more congenial 
by being in Antwerp. A year or so later he was again 
rescued by a friend and was taken into Heinrich Schreiber's 
small publishing firm in Munich, in conditions which made 
it possible for him to go on with his studies. From that 
time, till he was forced to leave Munich in the last year of 
the war, his life, as far as I know, never altered. He 
worked in his office during the day, and when he began to 
write, it was at night. He married late in life, and for the 
last twenty years lived with his wife and three children in 
a flat above his office, in a house overlooking the gardens 
on the further bank of the Isar. 

As a youMig man Haecker's ambition had been to be an 
actor, until after a long illness, due to an infection of the 
sinus, an operation left him badly disfigured. It would be 
difficult to imagine anyone who seemed less fitted for the 
part he had chosen for himself, though perhaps, by its very 
incongruity, it suggests to us the mobility of mind and 
the quick sympathy that lay behind a massive reserve and 
a disconcerting silence. His silence and reserve were in fact 
the only surface which he presented! to the curious, and he 
was so lacking in affectation or eccentricity that the most 
that could be said of him was that he made nothing of 
himself. Outwardly his life was as ordinary as could well be 
conceived. He rarely travelled, and took no part in the 
official learned and literary life that was so well defined in 
the Germany of that period. Though perhaps here, too, 
he might have taken a different turn if the Nazi regime had 
not come at the moment when his books were beginning 
to have some success, and he had begun to lecture occasion- 
ally at the Universities, 


Haecker's first essay Kierkegaard and the Philosophy of 
Inwardness was published by Schreiber in 1913 as something 
of a curiosity, for no one had heard of Haecker, and few 
had heard of Kierkegaard, whose works were only then 
appearing in German. It was anything but a conventional 
biography or an impersonal study. The articles which he 
wrote during the next five or six years, afterwards published 
under the title Satire und Polemik (1914-1920), gave full vent 
to his contempt for the literary and philosophical pundits 
of the day of whom probably only Thomas Mann and 
Rathenau are even names to the English public. The 
vituperative power of these articles is considerable, and I 
doubt whether anyone but Karl Krauss, in Vienna, with 
whom Haecker later became friends, could have surpassed 
him in violence. There was nothing reserved about 
Haecker's style, and though he soon afterwards turned his 
back on 'polemics' for very different fields, what he wrote 
always had an edge. 

The change came in 1920 when Haecker was received 
into the Catholic Church. For the next few years he wrote 
little, devoting himself mainly to translations from Kierke- 
gaard and Newman. His introductions and postscripts, 
together with a criticism of Scheler (which Scheler found 
remarkable), were published under the title Christentum und 
Kultur in 1927; it was only two years later that he wrote the 
first short book, from which may be dated the beginning of 
his work. 

Haecker neither wished, nor had the gifts to become a 
'figure'. His books were too distant from the German 
academic tradition, and too wanting in airs and graces, to 
gain him an audience quickly; they are not easy books 
to label and it is difficult and dangerous not to be a specialist 
in Germany. Strangely enough it was probably his grasp of 
political and social changes and his alarm at the form which 
the revolution took after the defeat of Germany that carried 
most weight among Catholics. And here his friendship 
with Karl Muth, the editor of Hochland, should perhaps be 


mentioned. Haecker's work is not of the impersonal 
schematic kind which provides the frame-work for a school; 
and where style is an essential ingredient, the immediate 
influence is often deceptive. How far his influence took root, 
how far it may still stimulate and permeate his compatriots 
remains to be seen. 

Haecker had maintained from the first that the Treaty 
of Versailles was a disaster for Europe, not least because it 
weakened all the forces that had hitherto done something 
to contain and limit the Prussian hegemony. And though, 
as the Journal shows, he altered his opinion to some extent, 
he remained acutely sensitive to the signs of the coming 
upheaval. Haecker was among the first to discern the real 
character of the Nazi movement, and his first article 
attacking its philosophy was published at the time that 
Hitler came to power. He was arrested a few weeks later 
and was released only through the help of Karl Muth and 
Cardinal Faulhaber. From that moment he was a marked 
man; he was forbidden to speak on the wireless and refused 
permission to lecture. The death of his wife in 1935 left 
him very much alone. A letter written in 1939 from 
Switzerland gives some notion of his feelings at this time. 

I was able to lecture in St. Gallen (in Switzerland) yesterday. The 
permission was given as a result of an oversight. And in my own 
country I am not allowed to say one word in public, because my books 
are having a success and are beginning to have some influence. I have 
been declared an enemy of the State, a Staatsjeind* My name is 
starred three times in the books of the Police, our tscheka, and my 
safety is always threatened more and more. I have the feeling and 
the belief that I am in the hands of God, but I am not on that 
account freed from anxiety and worry about my children. In a 
couple of hours I shall be back in Germany, and cannot tell what 
may not happen. At any rate, once there I shall no longer be able 
to write the truth. 

In the last sentence of his letter is the germ of the book 
here translated, and in fact Haecker refers in the Journal to 
the change involved in adopting a new form, and compares 
it to the change when he gave up c satire and polemics \ 


Looking back, it is remarkable how much Haecker could 
say in his essays that the normally sensitive reader must 
have recognised as directly applicable to existing conditions, 
and which the obtuseness of the censors passed over. But 
with the prospect of war, and of the general catastrophe he 
foresaw, Haecker felt the need to speak out his whole mind. 
And so, while nothing could at first sight seem less adapted 
to his cast of mind than a Journal, it was forced upon him, 
and he chose it as the perfect vehicle for the testimony he 
had to give. 

The Journal was written, like everything else he had 
written, by night. As much as possible of the manuscript 
was kept hidden in Karl Muth's house outside Munich, 
for Haecker had every reason to fear a visit of the Gestapo. 
When at last it occurred, and the police entered his flat, 
the current pages of the Journal lay in a music case on the 
sofa in his room. Only the presence of mind of his daughter, 
who caught her father's whispered word mappe, saved it from 
discovery. She ran into the room, called out that she was 
late for her music lesson, and ran off with the case. Not 
long afterwards, Hans Scholl, Haecker's friend and the 
leader of the students who staged an abortive revolt in 
1943, was condemned to death. Hans Scholl had noted 
down a conversation with Haecker in which he had 
said that above all things Germans lacked humility. This 
had its humourous conclusion in the interrogation that 
followed Haecker's arrest. He was asked what he meant 
by his words, and when he said, literally what I 
said', he was dismissed with the remark: Ach so, das ist in 

Early in 1944 Haecker's house was completely destroyed 
during the bombing of Munich. His health had already 
begun to suffer, and he went to live in a village outside 
Augsburg. There he was entirely alone. His daughter 
visited him occasionally from Munich. His eldest son was a 
prisoner in England. His youngest son Reinhard was sent 
early in 1945 to the Russian front and was shortly afterwards 


reported missing. His sight began to fail, and not long 
afterwards, on 9th April, he died entirely alone. 


Dire la ve"rit6, toute la ve"rit, rien que la ve*rite*, 
dire btement la verite bte, ennuyeusement la 
ve"rite ennuyeuse, tristement la vrit6 triste: 
voil& ce que nous nous somme propose. Nous 
y avons a peu pres re"ussi. 

Le Triomphe de la R&piiblique 1905 
Charles P<guy. 

Theodor Haecker belonged to the same generation as 
Peguy, and both grew up in P^guy's 'monde moderne', the 
world of c les intellectuels 5 , of socialists, nationalists, inter- 
nationalists, in which poetry was an ivory tower and 
civilisation was already in the grips of the new technology, 
a world in which religion was wholly irrelevant. However 
much they differed, they felt their situation to be the same, 
their paths were in fact the same, their difficulties and 
problems and even their destinies were not unlike, and in 
the history of their two countries their places are analogous. 
And more than that, it might be said that where P^guy left 
off, cut off in the middle of a sentence, there Haecker, 
unaware of P6guy's work, picks up the thread. 

Charles P^guy's work was a series of discoveries, of 
brilliant intuitions, set down with painstaking exactitude as 
a process of 'approfondissement' in which the deepest feel- 
ing was of C fid61it 5 to truth, and to his human condition. 
'La revolution sera morale 9 he announced, purposely con- 
fusing his own and the social revolution, *ou elle sera rien'. 

His search for the truth at times concealed the goal from 
him as well as from the readers of the interminable 
Cahiers in which he noted down the world of tradition as it 


came within his horizon. For it was himself and not 
Descartes he described when he spoke of 'ce cavalier frangais 
parti d'un si bon pas'. The stress which his method laid 
upon his discoveries and he defined philosophy as the 
discovery of a new continent lent a romantic colour to his 
vision that falsifies its essential nature. Peguy was neither 
a reactionary discovering the past, nor a progressive dis- 
covering the future; the tradition he perceived was at once 
older and newer. And if his work is deceptive in this, it is 
because it was written during the process of 'approfon- 
dissement 5 ; the moral and intellectual violence with which 
he battled his way through the c monde moderne* left 
its mark on his final point of view; his Verite 5 was not 
only dull, obvious and at times sad; we see it as his 

With the exception of the great unfinished Cahiers that 
were published posthumously* Peguy J s work leads up to 
his return to Catholicism which characteristically he refused 
to call a conversion; and in the sense that it was the dis- 
covery of himself, the understanding of his human condition 
and not a change so much as a growth, an 'approfon- 
dissement', he was right. 

Haecker, on the other hand, emphasised the finality of 
conversion, not so much as a break with the past, but as 
the attainment of a lasting foundation, the starting point 
in his life and thought. What he wrote before that date 
can be ignored. He was received into the Catholic Church 
in 1920; he published a collection of essays and articles in 
1927 and his main work began when he was forty; a work 
as compact and economical, ordered and objective as 
P6guy's was straggling, diffuse and repetitive. 

Haecker, no doubt, was as conscious as P6guy of having 
been c long on the road, slow and obstinate 5 . c lt may well 
be' he continues, c that there are men who find themselves 
at once; but I am not among them; I had to go a long way 

* Note sur la Philosophic de M. Bergson; Note Conjointe sur la Philosophic 
de M. Descartes; Clio. 


round before coming to myself* The difference between 
them lay in the fact that Haecker 'never prized the endea- 
vour above the end, the search above the find'. Peguy 
worked his passage; Haecker, as the violence of his first 
articles shows, was more impatient for the goal, more 
patient of the way. 

At the end of his fine study of Peguy, M. Romain Holland 
sums up, saying that Teguy's genius was to have been and 
to have recognised in himself 'un bon fran^ais de Pespece 
ordinaire, et vers Dieu un fidele et un p^cheur de la com- 
mune espce 5 . As in everything, Peguy was at once struck 
by his discovery and by his genius. Haecker neither was, 
nor thought himself a 'genius' and gave an almost opposite 
account of himself: 'I was very early struck by the thought, 
and it has never left me, of how little I myself could con- 
tribute to my being and existence; and I drew the con- 
clusion that it was far more important for me to meditate 
on the power which created me and sustains me ... than 
upon the little which I can do. That is certainly connected 
with the fact that, from childhood up, I was of a contem- 
plative nature 5 . 

P<guy was not the type to meditate on the little he could 
do: he was frankly and naively astonished at his powers, 
and when late in his career he became a poet, he was as 
dumbfounded as his readers e ce sera plus fort que Dante 5 . 
But there was a certain ethical strain in his make-up that 
shaped his thought more than he understood and prevented 
him from freeing himself entirely from the rationalistic 
ethics in which he felt enmeshed. 'Contre la morale 
catholique 5 he wrote in an early work, "seul une morale 
socialiste, strictement Kantienne en sa forme 5 and even in 
his last JVbto this element was not entirely eliminated. It is 

*Preface to Satire und Polemik 1921, 


this ethical turn of mind that gives his poetry its unique 

When Peguy was killed in 1914 he had reached the point 
where he could no longer have glossed over the question 
of conversion; the search was at an end. And in fact the 
unfinished Notes and Clio suggest a coming change more 
radical than the whole process of 'approfondissement 5 as it 
lies before us in the Cahiers. It is with that change, the 
mature formulation of the contemplative point of view, that 
Haecker's work is concerned. Peguy certainly saw the 
problems of his time very clearly, saw the narrowness of 
the rationalistic interpretations of 'scientific 5 history. He 
saw, for example, the confusion that followed when Taine 
ignored the different 'orders' and explained La Fontaine's 
poetry in sociological terms and the 'man 5 in terms of his 
material and economic existence. But although he criticised 
and ridiculed the 'enormous conceit 5 of these 'explanations 5 
he was weak in putting forward his 'humble 5 intuitive 
method as the alternative. Having experienced the in- 
adequacy of rationalism and reacted against it, he remained 
to some degree influenced by its antithetical forms of 
thought, so that the alternative sometimes presented itself 
in a form that is not free from irrationalism. 

"Apart from'the faith" 5 , Haecker writes in the Journal, "the 
only choice is between the 'inadequate 5 and the 'absurd'. 
Bourgeois Europe chose the 'inadequate 5 , and was followed 
in this choice by the Fascists. Individual geniuses prefer 
some 'absurd' or other, usually gnostic in origin, as in the 
case of Schelling and Scheler, or else of a private nature, like 
Nietzsche's 'Eternal Recurrence 5 , or Rilke's 'Weltinnen- 
raum*. There is something one-dimensional about the faces 
of those who chose the 'inadequate 5 ". 


For all their brilliance and truth, Peguy's discoveries are 
his, and it calls for an effort of mind to disengage them from 
his grasp and though he said with some truth to Lotte, 
his appointed Boswell, c C'est un renouveau catholique qui 
se fait par moi 3 , it was a reflection upon what he could do; 
there was something 'private 5 about it which interested him 
quite as much as meditating on the destiny in which he 
was involved. P6guy had too much genius ; he was carried 
away by his fantasy and his immense dexterity, and delighted 
in his eccentricities. Yet even his eccentricities have an 
ethical quality, and his eccentric, drumming, repetitive 
style, with its angry or ironical emphasis on the obvious, has 
almost nothing of the C 6crivain' about it. Haecker, on the 
other hand, is never eccentric and always himself, the differ- 
ence may perhaps be marked by saying, as Haecker says in 
the Journal, that the paradox is almost always only a way to 
the simple, harmonious (obvious) truth, though a very 
significant way. What Pguy and Haecker saw was, in 
essentials, the same; the way in which they saw it could 
hardly be more different. 

It is at their best that Pguy and Haecker are nearest 
together, in their regard for the truth and in their faith. 
'Sa vraie croyance', Mme. Favre said of P<%uy, e c'etait la 
prifere'. That was the source of Peguy's fundamental theme 
and principle: Tinsertion de F&ernel dans le temporeP 
the fact or data of tradition 

Et Farbre de la grace et Farbre de la nature 
Ont li< leur deux troncs de noeuds si solennels 
Us ont tant confondu leurs destins fraternels 
Que c'est la meme essence et la mme stature. 
For in the 'monde moderne' nature and grace were not any 


longer different 'orders', they were an antithesis. There is 
hardly a better example of Peguy's imaginative power, that 
flowed from his life of prayer, than his capacity to see nature 
and the supernatural once again in the harmony of tradition. 
It was as a result of this antithesis of the antithetical form 
of thought that denies the different orders in favour of a one- 
dimensional world that religion had become irrelevant; it 
had lost its roots and its links in nature and history and had 
become something entirely 'supernatural' a ghost from the 
past. This generally accepted notion was not only the pro- 
duct of Bayle's rationalistic critique of Tradition, but the 
consequence of the mechanical rehearsal of the 'evidences' of 
Christianity, themselves encased in a rationalistic mould, 
divorced (for the sake of convenience) from personal 
religion and the life of prayer, and as such abstractions. 
In their way the 'evidences' and Natural Theology were 
the preserve of a cast as distant from Peguy's 'bon 
frangais', as the 'intellectuals' whom Peguy and Haecker 
began by opposing with all the vehemence at their 

It was in this 'monde moderne,' where natural and 
super-natural were separated by a gulf, that Bergson created 
such a profound impression. c He will never be forgiven' 
P6guy said, 'for having set us free,' that is neither by the 
intellectuals nor by the ultras. To Haecker, who described 
the philosophy of the period as a process of asphixiation, 
Bergson was the man who 'threw open a window and let 
us breathe'. But almost simultaneously there occurred the 
decisive event in his intellectual development, the discovery 
of Kierkegaard's work and if Haecker did not think in 
terms of discoveries, it was not because he did not make 
them. Twenty years later, in a critical essay on Kierkegaard's 
Notion of Truth he wrote : 'I am still too strongly under the 
impression which Kierkegaard made upon me as a young 
man, to speak of him without gratitude and admiration'. 
His conversion was not a break with the past, but the ful- 
filment of his fidilitf, and none of those from whom he had 


gained an insight into the truth were set aside or forgotten, 
neither Kierkegaard, nor Hilty nor Blumhardt.* 

It was hardly an anachronism that Kierkegaard should 
have come upon the scene after Bergson, for although his 
point of view is neither mysterious nor esoteric, his whole 
mode of thought was obscured by the polemics out of which 
it emerged. That Nietzsche's work of demolition helped to 
prepare the way must be evident. But Kierkegaard's 
delayed action is an excellent illustration of the continuity 
of thought between the attempt to recover the meaning of 
tradition which occurred at the end of the XVIIIth century 
and the movement of thought that recovered itself with the 
appearance of Bergson a movement which now acknow- 
ledges its origins in Kierkegaard, at least to the extent of 
adopting his term, existential. 

The romantics with whom Kierkegaard had most in 
common were the failures of the first generation, whose 
truncated works and fragmentary thoughts were exposed 
in a wholly misleading perspective by the appearance 
of the successful and often massive 'inadequate' oeuvres 
that followed. The immediate reaction to the Age of 
Reason, with its artificial segregation of thought and feeling 
and its capacity for dispensing with enthusiasm, had 
released an intuitive perception of the common ground of 

* Johann Christoph Blumhardt (1805-1880) whose life and writings made 
a great impression upon Haecker as a young man. He studied theology 
in Tubingen, and took orders. Mdrike and David Friederich Strauss 
were among his friends and contemporaries. His extraordinary spiritual 
influence in his country parish soon spread abroad, and can only be 
compared to that of the Cur d'Ars. But his theology was displeasing to 
authority, and his innumerable cures and miraculous powers were 
discounted. Neither he, nor his son, who was hardly less remarkable, 
have ever recived any acknowledgment. Carl Hilty (1833-1909) 
Professor of Law at Bern University a writer who impressed von Htigel 
and Haecker and apparently no one else. 


tradition and imagination, which was so fruitful in new 
vistas and forms of expression, that with few exceptions the 
end outstripped the means and was lost in vagueness. The 
great example, among these failures, of a mind equipped to 
perceive the aim and capable of assimilating the material, 
is Coleridge. Newman's 'failure' was to have worked 
patiently at the same problem, refusing all the half-hearted 
or pseudo-solutions elected by his contemporaries, and only 
to have completed in 1870 a work well launched in 1830. 
By a curious irony, being twelve years older than Kierke- 
gaard, he lived on ten years after Bergson had begun 
writing : no more unpropitious timing could be imagined.* 
The aim of the writers who broke away from the ration- 
alism of the XVIIIth century, in some cases hardly more 
than an instinct, was the re-integration of thought and 
feeling, a unity of life and thought which transferred the 
accent from essence to existence. The fact that the XlXth 
century fell back again into the same stale dichotomy, 
enriched by its scientific discoveries on the one side, and on 
the other by the poetic discoveries of the first generation of 

* What Mr. I A. Richards says of the writers discussing Coleridge 
might with equal propriety be applied to those who write on Newman: 
they usually "put a ring fence round a very small part of his thought 
and say, c we will keep inside this and leave the transcendental and the 
analytic discussion to someone else. } '* Father D'Arcy has observed how 
little attention Newman has received from philosophers and psycholo- 
gists; he does not mention theologians, perhaps because Newman 
emphasised his amateur status. It would have been possible for Mr. 
Richards himself to widen his field of discussion, profitably I think, 
for in the University Sermons Newman added a foot-note to the effect that 
Coleridge had forestalled his argument; and then it is evident that the 
Grammar of Assent is by no means irrelevant to Coleridge on the Imagination. 
Recently, Mr. Herbert Read has pointed to the fact that Coleridge 
was approaching Kierkegaard's either-or', though it would be still 
better to say that Kierkegaard on the imagination (especially in 
Sickness unto Death) is relevant to Coleridge the Critic. In any case 
the 'either-or' is apt to be a rather sterile approach to Kierkegaard's 
thought, 'Existentialism' is often regarded as a fashion; I hope the 
connections suggested by this note wul dispel the illusion. Perhaps it is 
only a fashion in its attempt to segregate the ideas of Coleridge and 
Kierkegaard from their Christianity. 


romantics, concealed the importance of Kierkegaard (and 
of those whose work had similar aims) for nearly a century. 

Among the few who saw this clearly, at the time, was 
Sainte-Beuve, so well situated and gifted to understand the 
significance of these attempts to grasp the meaning of 
tradition, and to assess the shortcomings of those who 
bungled the work. In one of the outbursts in which he 
excelled, he gave a definition of the mal du sikle as a lack 
of will which is by far the best justification for the venom 
with which he pursued Chateaubriand, and Hugo and the 
successful romantics, and explains his penetrating admir- 
ation of Senancour's "failure 5 . 

"Parmi les hommes qui se consacrent aux travaux de la 
pens^e et dont les sciences morales et philosophiques sont 
le domaine, rien de plus difficile a rencontrer aujourd'hui 
qu'une volont6 au sein d'une intelligence, une conviction, 
une foi. Ce sont des combinations infinies, des impar- 
tialit6s sans limites, de vagues et inconstants assemblages, 
c'est-a-dire, sauf la dispute du moment, une indifference 
radicale. Ce sont, en les prenant au mieux, de vastes ames 
deployes & tous les vents, mais sans ancre quand elles 
s'arretent, sans boussole quand elles marchent. Cette 
croissance d6mesur<6e de la facult6 comprehensive con- 
stitue une v6ritable maladie de la volont6, et va jusqu'& 
la depraver ou & Pabolir. Elle aboutit dans le sein meme 
de Pintelligence, qui se glace en s'6claircissant, qui s'eflace 
et s'6tale, au del& des justes bornes, et n'a plus ainsi de centre 
lumineux, de puissance fixe et rayonnante. On veut com- 
prendre sans croire, recevoir les id6es ainsi que le ferait un 
miroir limipide, sans Stre determine pour cela, je ne dis 

pas k des actes, mais meme & des conclusions c'est 

une mani&re d'epicur^isme sensuel et raffing de Pintelligence. 
On ne s'y livre pas d'abord de propos deiib6r<; on se dit 


qu'il faut choisir; mais Page venant, cette vertu du choix, 
cette energie de la volonte qui, se confondant intimement 
avec la sensibilite, compose 1'amour, et avec Pintelligence 
n'est autre chose que la foi, deperit, s'epuise, et un matin 
apres la trop longue suite d'essais et de libertinage de 
jeunesse, elle a disparu de 1* esprit comme du coeur."* 

Saint-Beuve was taken in, and attributed to Lamennais, 
not only a full understanding of the mal du siede, but the 
qualities and gifts, the integration of intellect, will and 
feeling, that were to fulfill the promise of romanticism in its 
search for the meaning of tradition. Within three or four 
years he was obliged to retract, and the terms in which he 
did so show how clearly he had seen the problem and how 
deeply he felt the disappointment. Lamennais he admits, 
was 'beaucoup plus ecrivain et poete que nous n'avions cru 
le voir'. In fact he was not very different from Sainte- 
Beuve's bStes noires, Chateaubriand, Balzac, Hugo. c Quelle 
dommage', he wrote a few years later on re-reading his article 
on Lamartine, c Quelle dommage que le sens du vrai soit si 
souvent en defaut chez ces hommes en qui predomine le 
talent'. That was the theme of Chateaubriand et son cercle 
litteraire in which he so plainly marks his preference for the 
truth and sincerity of Senancour. j In Port Royal he let 
himself go for the last time on the subject of le mensonge de 
la parole litteraire 9 , and the want of will to bring concept 
and image together in the truth. 

The importance of Kierkegaard's work, so often regarded 
in its most negative aspects, in its polemic against rationalism 

* Portraits Contemporains: Lamennais. 

t As far as I know, Maine de Biran escaped Sainte-Beuve's attention 
till much later, when his views had already hardened, though even then 
he took Taine to task for his prejudiced account of Maine de Biran's 


and in its impatient dismissal of mysticism (as the antithesis), 
lies in its attempt to find the meaning of tradition and to 
understand the truth in relation to man as a spiritual unity 
of intellect, will and feeling, harmonised or reflected, as he 
says, in the faculty instar omnium, the imagination. This 
attempt to 'say once again, if possible in a more inward way' 
what had been handed down c by the fathers 3 was guided 
from the start by a grasp of the irrelevance of religion in the 
modern world in no sense inferior to Lamennais' Essai sur 
^indifference. His own criticism of his work was that there 
was too much of the farivain and the poete in it. 

The greatest fault which a thinker can commit, Haecker 
was never tired of repeating, was to leave out something, 
for the errors of over-simplification result in a confusion far 
more vicious because more radical, than that produced by 
the mere muddler. At many points Kierkegaard was con- 
fused; but he did not leave things out. His faults spring 
from a different cause, from his often excessive repudiation 
of the over-simplified alternatives that were proposed to 
him. His suspicion of "mysticism' led him in his last pam- 
phlets to take c honesty' as the final criterion, and almost 
justifies his German translator in calling him a rationalist. 
Better known is his sustained attack on rationalism (with 
special reference to Hegel) and in volume after volume he 
treated reason to the rough handling that Pascal so admired 
in Montaigne. In The Instant he was 'inadequate'; else- 
where very often 'absurd'. It would be difficult to find 
these criticisms more forcibly or more justly put than in 
Haecker's essays; but this did not prevent him from seeing 
in the problem as stated by Kierkegaard, and in the 
imaginative attempt to solve it, a world of thought still to 
be explored. To Haecker, Kierkegaard's work appeared as 
one of the great and original attempts in the history of 
Europe to reconcile philosophy and mysticism and to 
preserve the rights of both intuition and discursive reason. 

"Kierkegaard's great existential thesis of *truth in sub- 
jectivity' is one of the vital problems before man and will 


remain the source of unrest even in the realms of pure 
philosophy. Side by side with the 'philosophy of nature 5 
and the 'philosophy of life 9 , Kierkegaard's spiritual and 
existential philosophy is the task before the future. Its 
essence is the life of the spirit, the energeia of the spirit, a 
Zvy, a life which is not an anima mundi> the life of nature, 
but a spiritual life, that of the person in a medium antagon- 
istic to him, which is to say matter, lifeless in his body, 
living in his soul. But the task is not what Kierkegaard 
thought it to be himself the victim of a false philosophy 
for he regarded the task as the realisation or actualisation of 
a mere probability, and an uncertainty, and to the natural 
understanding, even an absurdity; whereas it is an objective 
truth, firmly established according to the classical definition 
of truth as 'adequatio rei et intellect ', a certainty, however 
difficult and painful its acquisition and retention". 

What Haecker means by 'spiritual man' may be seen 
from the following quotation: 

"Spiritual man is indeed something other than the 
intellectual man, though naturally presupposing him: he 
has a whole dimension more, he is the complete man accord- 
ing to the idea of God, a perfect unity, an incomparable 
totality, desired by God and longed for by man as anima 
naturaliter Christiana. Spiritual man is the antagonist of 
gnosticism and of the idealism of German philosophy, after 
all only a sort of watered down gnosticism. Only the 
spiritual man understands the holiness of the body. An 
embrace can never be holy to the gnostic. And those who 
do not want to insult the creator should be careful not to 
insult his creation. The Christian is the enemy of the 
world, of the 'world 5 in inverted commas. And that is not 
the 'pure' creation of God, but the product of fallen man 
and fallen angels. The world in this sense, the 'world' in 
inverted commas, and the man who belongs to it, one might 
even say c man' in inverted commas, that ambiguous fudge 
of good and evil, wanting in all decision, not saying 'no' to 
anything, is consequently dangerous ; metaphysically speak- 


ing this 'world' and this 'man' have evil in them as nihilism. 
The 'man 3 corresponding to the 'world', sometimes imper- 
tinently called natural man, as though he were the product 
of uncorrupted nature, which exists only in the 'Immaculate',, 
this 'man', outside Christianity, necessarily has in his art 
a certain nihilism of the feelings. Even love sings and 
murmurs a melodious Nothing, like Tristan', he has a 
devastating, nihilistic philosophy once away from the 
privileged philosophy of being as it is found in Plato 
and Aristotle; he has a nihilistic politics, an apostate 
politics, because his will is nihilistic and does not will the 
true end, which is God alone. And it is quite in order 
and perfectly normal that the three faculties proper to 
man should have their part in the dangerous, almost 
mortal sickness of being in the 'world 3 , this 'world' in 
inverted commas." 

The 'almost mortal sickness 5 an echo of Kierkegaard's 
Sickness unto Death is the disintegration of the 'individual', 
the despair upon which Kierkegaard focussed so much of 
his attention because he saw in it the opposite of 'faith' as 
the moment in which man 'begins to exist': when all 
his faculties are integrated. This despair and nihilism 
Kierkegaard regarded as the evasion of the problem of 
existence, a flight into a world of fantasy and a lack of 
imagination, in which one or other of the faculties asserts 
its autonomy at the expense of man's spiritual unity: 
and it was against 'philosophy' in this sense, whether as 
rationalism, voluntarism or irrationalism that Kierkegaard 

The problem of this spiritual unity and its relation to 
truth is the subject of many of the entries in the Journal^ 
some of which have been included although they were 
incorporated in Haecker's last, and still unpublished book: 
Metaphysik des Gefuhls, a metaphysic of feeling. The first 
outline of the question, so important to a full understanding 
of Haecker's work, occurs in Schopfer und SchSpfung (his 
meditations: Creator and Created) in a section entitled 


Analogia Trinitatis. A passage in that brief excursus gives 
the aim of his last essay : 

"Philosophy belongs by origin to the intellect; and its 
proper sphere is the sphere of the intellect. Whatever else 
it may master, it has first to conquer with the help, so to 
speak, of foreign mercenaries. Its immediate sphere is pure 
knowledge, and starting from there, it goes on to the know- 
ledge always to the knowledge of that which is to be willed ; 
and from there it must go forward, a thing it has hardly 
begun to do, to the knowledge always to the knowledge of 
that which is felt. But in the third case the difficulties 
multiply owing to the new relation of subject to object. 55 

It was in this way that Haecker understood the signi- 
ficance of Kierkegaard's 'truth in subjectivity' as the aim 
of man whose spiritual unity was not a desperate leap into 
the absurd, but the attainment and actualisation of object- 
ive truth. The problem, he continues, requires a complete 
thought: *a complete thought, both abstract and concrete; 
the thought that grasps knowledge and insight into the 
universal, together with its knowledge of being and also 
a thought that grasps the concrete and the particular, in 
that it is forever moving between the image that belongs 
to the senses, and the notion that is purely intellectual, 
dematerialising the notion and spiritualising the image'. 

In this emphasis upon complete thought is to be seen, 
perhaps, the reflection of Haecker's deep admiration for 
Newman. It is also noticeable that in his presentation of 
the need for a new understanding of the relation of subject 
to object Haecker is concerned with the question that is so 
much to the fore in M. Gabriel Marcel's work. Perhaps 
Haecker's position can be best indicated from his statement 
of principles in the Preface to Was ist der Mensch? 

"In the long, unnecessary battle between sensualism and 
reason, between the image and the thought, between con- 
templation and discursive thought, I am neither a sensualist 
nor an intellectualist, but a 'hierarchist'. Starting from the 
senses, and never without them, though not with the senses 


alone, man reaches thought and belief. Thought is of a 
higher 'order' and equally of a higher quality than the 
image, for the spirit is of a higher order than the senses ; 
and the marvel of the particular creation to which man be- 
longs is that, from the beginning, starting from the bottom, 
it is both time and space : it begins with matter. But he who 
loves the order of hierarchy, the 'hierarch' we might call 
him, is only such through love, even in philosophy: he 
leaves the faults of sensualism on one side, and is not 
ensnared by its weaknesses ; but he does not relinquish the 
senses, without which he would not be, for he is not a pure 
spirit, like the angels, and never will be! He flees the 
impurity of the image, but not the image which he loves 
eternally and to which he always lovingly returns from the 
realm of immaterial being that he learns to know weakly 
in and through the image, although he himself cannot pur- 
sue being into those realms. He returns to the image, to 
the image of his choice indeed, for he is master of the image, 
and pours into it the power of thought and idea, holding it 
up and sustaining it; for it is he who crowns the image with 
power and gives it its rights in the spiritual sphere' *. 

I will conclude this section with two more quotations in 
order to illustrate both the traditional basis of Haecker's 
thought, and the imaginative freedom which this gave him. 

"Fides quaerit intellectum, faith seeks and stirs the intellect 
to the utmost endeavours and assists it. The two are not 
enemies who can never unite, nor are they two poles for 
ever apart in stress and strain, as opposites. All such 
notions are phantasms, woven out of centuries of poisonous 
heresy, or perhaps just trivial comparisons, words without 
thought. In any case, such is the sound and true teaching of 
the Christian religion, as it has been handed down to us 
in Holy Scripture through Christ and his apostles, and kept 
alive by the Church." 

"Whatever a man says of himself or of others is said by 
his spirit but what is it precisely, what power or faculty 
that gives to things their name?" 


"Not his feeling and not his will, however much, however 
powerfully and often decisively they may enter into it, for 
the 'human spirit' is always a unity of the three faculties 
but his intellect, whose guiding thread and goal is truth. 
The intellect is the light of the spirit to such crude images 
are we compelled, even though we may spiritualise them, 
which is the secret of the mystics! for it is not given to 
us to express in positive terms the real essence of the spirit, 
and we do so in the abstract only by negation: it is not 
material, immaterial; and then again we express it in the 
concrete through images, upon which there always lies 
something of the materiality of the sensual life of body and 
soul, images which in their selectiveness and graduated 
power are always straining, asymptotically, to capture the 
'immaterial*; images such as spiritus, pneuma, breath, light, 
sound. These images and others, are made more intellectual 
through the spiritual life of man in that they enter into the 
sphere of comparison and analogy as symbols of the Divine 
Being. But the furthest limit of the material is reached not 
in dead abstractions, but vitally through the concrete. The 
essence of man's cognisant spirit is not immediate spiritual 
vision, intellectual insight, but thought, which, however, has 
this very intellectual insight or intuition as its starting point 
and as its aim and end, spiritual sight and vision. And that 
is why I said that the intellect is the light of the human 
spirit, in so far as it is knowledge. The essential character of 
the human spirit is therefore better defined, as far as its 
being is concerned, as ratio. Man is a rational animal". 

The distinctive feature of Haecker's contemplative cast 
of mind is his sense of the hierarchy of being. No dualistic 
philosophy, he asserts, is so false as a monistic system. But 
what he calls the 'hierarchic 5 view is neither monistic nor 
dualistic but trinitarian. And although the Analogia 
Trinitatis first appears where Haecker considers the spiritual 
unity of man's three facilities, man created in the image of 
the Trinity, he regarded it in its bearing upon the analogia 
entis, not only as an image with which to further our know- 


ledge of man, but as an extension and fulfilment of our 
analogical knowledge of being. 


Ad se ipsum. Never forget that you could only 
write Satires and Polemics (1914-1920) because 
you had promised break off when everything 
seemed at its best, so to speak, when that path 
pleased you most. You had to go a different 
way, that pleased you less. And now the same 
thing is happening again: You have got to go 
a new way, one that pleases you even less. 

Journal 1939. 

The Journal is the new form and the new path forced upon 
Haecker by circumstances, reluctantly if freely chosen, his 
last testimony to the truth and a confession of faith that is 
a spontaneous rejoinder to a particular moment in history. 
Its uniqueness lies in the fulness of its confrontation of faith 
and history and in Haecker's gift of fusing what is so often 
separated. The Journal is the most direct expression of the 
conception of truth which is the subject of his whole work, 

The same approfondissement had taken place in both 
Kierkegaard and P^guy, but their intuitions, their vision, 
remained unfulfilled in a certain measure. This is quite 
specially true of Kierkegaard whose last polemics off even 
tend to obscure his prophetic insight. Yet from the date 
of his conversion, in 1848, he was essentially concerned with 
only one idea, 'the witness to the truth 9 whom whether we 
call him martyr, saint or confessor he regarded as the 
criterion of existence, since in him alone is to be found the 
actualisation of 'contemporaneity with Christ*. The notion 
of 'contemporaneity' occurs at the very beginning of 


Kierkegaard's work as the criterion of the 'stages* or spheres 
of existence (aesthetic, ethical, religious) and again as the 
c either-or } , the 'choice' between living 'contemporaneously 
with oneself or escaping into past or future and away in 
fact from the engagement which brings time and eternity 

This conception receives a wider though less deeply 
anchored and defined form in Peguy's principle: Tinsertion 
de Peternel dans le temporeP with its more direct and 
conscious bearing on the meaning of history and tradition. 
He was in fact among the first to relate the notion of con- 
temporaneity, so intimately bound up with his life of 
prayer, to the need of harmonising what he called the 
Jewish and the Greek 'disciplines'. The real importance 
of Haecker's work seems to me to lie in accurately per- 
ceiving the relation of these two aspects of 'contempor- 
aneity 3 though he had not, as far as I know, read Peguy. 
(It is true that he greatly admired Bloy, whose view of 
history is substantially the same). 

The reconciliation of Greek and Jewish thought and the 
resulting emphasis upon history becomes in Haecker's 
hands the manner in which religion becomes relevant, is 
given its context and its situation in contemporary history. 
In that sense it would be true to say that the central theme 
of the Journal is the relation of Christianity and culture, or 
more accurately, a momentous instance of their divorce 
the apostasy of Germany. The aim of the rest of this 
Introduction is to indicate briefly and in Haecker's words 
wherever this can be done, the constituent elements of the 
point of view from which this theme is treated. 

Kierkegaard, Pguy and Haecker are not in the ordinary 
sense 'difficult' writers; as a general rule it is Tesprit de 


geometric' which provides the difficult explanations. Their 
works are, however, difficult to break into, their approach 
is unfamiliar; for T esprit de finesse' is essentially inaccessible 
because it tends at all times to reflect the writer's whole 
vision or his sense of the c whole', the summa* Their works 
are therefore like the islands of an archipelago, each personal, 
distinct and complete, without links with the other, so that 
there is no 'progressing' from one to the other (from 
Coleridge to Kierkegaard) and yet forming a continuous 
train of thought, a pattern in history. The simplest way of 
breaking down their isolation is to concede this pattern; 
and, above all, not to impose upon them the pattern of 
history which it was one of their principle concerns to break 
away from. 

Once again, this can best be done by stressing the con- 
tinuity between the reaction against the Age of Reason and 
the existentialist volte face. The two chief points at which the 
similarity stands out plainly are first, the emergence of a 
preoccupation with questions explicitly or implicitly theo- 
logical, and secondly, a marked indifference, or even 
hostility, to 'historicism'. It is because the problems of man's 
'human condition' are theological problems, that existent- 
ialism is represented by two camps, the one atheistic, the 
other Christian; and as though to confirm the truth of this 
view, Marxism sees in existentialism the one vigorous 
and possibly dangerous antagonist to its consistent anti- 
theological conception of man and its 'scientific history'. 

The sudden collapse of the romantic reaction into 
'historicism' has always been something of a mystery. 'The 
descent from these cloudy summits of the romantic Sinai', 
Mr. Christopher Dawson writes, 'to the worship of the 
Secular State, that Golden Calf in the desert of materialism, 
is one of the strangest events in the history of European 
thought, and the philosophy of Hegel remains as a mighty 
monument and symbol to this spiritual journey into the 
wilderness'. And in fact the incontinent flight of the 
romantics, the dismal failure of their promise, is only to be 


accounted for if we adopt Sainte-Beuve's analysis of the 
mal du siecle and allow that the predominance of 'talent* 
over the sens du vrai must ultimately be traced to a lack of 
will. For what in retrospect appears as a descent from 
vagueness to the clear and cogent arguments of the schools 
of history, was a retreat from the real problems, the theo- 
logical preoccupations of a Coleridge and a Kierkegaard. 
There followed instead c the philosophy of history' still in 
inverted commas to Sainte-Beuve that led to the worship 
of the Secular State, first of all identified by Hegel as the 
Prussian State, and subsequently by the interpreters of 
Marx as the USSR; but it always led to the State as the 
central problem, considered from the standpoint of 'pro- 
gress' or 'reaction' and, as Burckhardt maintained, the 
European crisis is a crisis in the idea of the State. This 
return to antithetical forms of thought and to the battle of 
progress and reaction is the paradox of the romantic 
movement, a 'strange event 5 , for in the manner of its return 
to history romanticism ultimately lost the meaning of 

History became an abstraction, and events were appre- 
hended in the laws and processes of culture, economics and 

The best known account of this strange event is Acton's, 
and it is specially instructive because he himself was 
involved. In The German Schools of History Acton summarises 
in masterly fashion the rise of 'the most arduous of sciences' 
(the phrase is Fustel's). 'History' he goes on, 'was subor- 
dinate to other things, to divinity, philosophy and law; and 
the story worth telling would be the process by which the 
servant of many masters became the master over them, and 
having become a law to itself, imposed it upon others'. 


That is an excellent definition of the 'history* against which 
Kierkegaard, Nietzsche and Peguy directed their polemics 
and Jacob Burckhardt his irony. It looks at first as though 
Acton had remembered everything except himself; but in 
his article on Dollinger' s Historical Work he recounts the more 
personal side of the strange event, and it was certainly 
worth telling. 

'Ernst von Lasaulx, a man of rich and noble intellect, was 
lecturing next door (to Dollinger) on the philosophy and 
religion of Greece, and everybody heard about his indistinct 
mixture of dates and authorities, and the spell which his 
unchastened idealism cast over his students. Lasaulx, who 
brilliantly carried on the tradition of Greuzer, who was 
son-in-law to Baader and nephew to Gorres, wrote a volume 
on the fall of Hellenism which he brought in manuscript 
and read to Dollinger at a sitting. The effect on the dis- 
senting mind of the hearer was a warning; and there is 
reason to date from those two hours in 1853 a more severe 
use of materials, a stricter notion of the influence which the 
end of an enquiry may lawfully "exert on the pursuit of it'. 

Acton left Munich sometime in 1853; but the description 
certainly reads like a confession, and if that is so, one might 
date from those two hours, the birth of the later Acton, the 
friend of Gladstone who found Newman so difficult to 
understand. Lasaulx might indeed have provided the link, 
and it is a letter to Newman that recalls how close was 
the understanding between master and pupil. 'My old 
master Lasaulx', he wrote to Newman in the summer of 
1861, 'one of the greatest German students, died the other 
day after expressing the wish that his library should not be 
sold by auction, but offered first of all to me, and I have 
bought it, both for his sake and for the excellent books, 
It will greatly add to the confusion and value of my library, 
which I continue to hope will one day tempt you to Alden- 

* I owe this unpublished letter to the kindness of Mr, Douglas 



There can be little doubt that the change which gradually 
came over Acton, and the difficulties of the later years, the 
tension between the scientific historian and the deeply 
religious mind, can be traced back to, or at least understood 
in the light of, his failure to carry on the original romantic 
tradition that he had found so inspiring in Lasaulx, who not 
only inherited it from Baader and Gorres, but was one of 
its last representatives; instead, Acton capitulated before 
Dollinger's accurate dates and carefully checked sources. 

By a coincidence, which in this context is illuminating, 
it happened that Lasaulx, who lost a pupil in Acton, gained 
the one admirer who was not influenced by the rise of 
'scientific history 5 , Jacob Burckhardt. Though not men- 
tioned in The German Schools of History, Lasaulx is referred to 
above twenty times in the Introduction to Burckhardt's 
Reflections on History, where there are hardly any other 
references quoted at all. Burckhardt, in fact, found in 
Lasaulx 5 s Essay on the Philosophy of History no 'authority 5 , but 
a view of history strikingly similar to his own, which 
recognised the frontiers of history and the rights of religion 
and natural theology. For it was because the view of 
history accepted by Acton threatened the continuity of 
Europe the tradition which made room for an organic 
relation between religion and culture that Burckhardt and 
Nietzsche, as well as Kierkegaard and Peguy, rejected it. 

Nietzsche's second Unzeitgemasse Betrachtung, *Vom Nut&n 
and Nachtheil der Historie jilr das Leben\ he called elsewhere 
'We Historians. A history of the sickness of the modern 
soul 5 Nietzsche's 'sickness unto death 5 , in fact. It was 
written in the last months of 1873 in Bale where Nietzsche 
had come under the spell of Burckhardt. Perhaps 'spell 5 is 
not altogether the right expression, for unlike Wagner, 
Burckhardt was not inclined for the role of Cher Maitre. 
It was, however, almost the only case in which Nietzsche's 
admiration did not end in ressentiment. His debt to Burck- 
hardt is certainly very difficult to estimate, but it seems 
fairly safe to say that where 'scientific history 5 is concerned, 


he learnt a good deal from Burckhardt, though without 
grasping Burckhardt's point of view. 'This very extra- 
ordinary man' , he wrote, 'does not indeed falsify the truth, 
but certainly tends to conceal it'. It is tempting to suppose 
that Nietzsche never grasped the implications of the refer- 
ences to Lasaulx without which, no doubt, Burckhardt 
might be said to conceal the whole truth as he saw it. No 
doubt Nietzche's mind was already too far formed for him to 
understand a point of view that allowed for the reconcili- 
ation of Greek and Jewish thought and the meeting of 
Christianity and culture. It will be the aim of the last 
section to consider very briefly how Burckhardt and Haecker 
understood the question that Nietzsche answered with the 
opposition between Dionysius and Christ. 


The Christian and History ', published in 1935, though not, 
I believe, so much read as Haecker's other essays, is in some 
respects the most important, forming as it were the coping 
stone of his work. e An inward reflection upon the essence 
of history' he wrote in the introduction, Vas no part 
of Christian Mediaeval Philosophy, and it is therefore all 
the more important a task at the present time and that is 
the apology for this short book'. Its importance for the 
Journal needs no emphasis, and I will begin with some 
.quotations which, I hope, will indicate Haecker's point 
of view. 

"Eternity and time can only come together truly, 
that is to say in a genuine fashion, corresponding to their 
nature, and can only be fused in the mind of man, in Dogma. 
This fusion, this e meeting' can never be achieved by 


philosophy and metaphysics alone. In them there is a gulf 
between the eternal and the temporal, and wherever 
the restraint and reserve before this mystery (which is the 
mark of the mind's aristocratic origin) is relaxed and 
abandoned in favour of some democratic or demagogic 
opinion, there follows the most murderous nonsense, the 
fruit of unenlightened feelings with their shameless lack of 

rhyme or reason The fact that such a thing as history 

exists is a great mystery to metaphysics, greater even than 
'being' which illustrates how far natural metaphysics is 
from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who, to the 
man of this aeon, is in the first instance a God of history 
and of faith, for faith belongs to history. The creature 
always desires timelessness, but never achieves it by flying 
time in a metaphysical way, in a Hegelian way, but only 
through the painful assimilation of time the occasion for 
which is not wanting nowadays. That was the central 
personal experience of Kierkegaard an experience, more- 
over, common to all believers such is the fundamental 
significance of the category 'existence' which Kierkegaard 
threw into the arena of philosophy". 

"Can one base one's eternal happiness on an historical 
fact? Lessing's question, taken up with such passion by 
Kierkegaard, and answered with the despair of the absolute 
paradox, was the ultimate historical formulation of the 
antagonism between metaphysics and history, between 
Greek and Jewish thought, which are only harmonised in 
exceptional circumstances, for as a rule the correct relation- 
ship is upset at the cost of one or other, so that it even seems 
as though the one excluded the other and that has its 
fatal consequences". 

The 'fatal consequences', as Haecker notes, follow, not 
from a failure to reconcile Greek and Jewish thought (which 
is rarely achieved), but from the lack of restraint and 
reserve in face of the ultimate mystery of existence, in this 
context the fusion of eternity and time which is to say 
dogma. Once this restraint and reserve are relaxed, some 


'democratic' form of the 'inadequate 5 is allowed to explain 
everything, or some 'demagogic 5 form of the 'absurd 5 denies 
all meaning to history. It was the romantic recognition of 
the role of the imagination (however unclear and cloudy 
at first) which perceived the mystery and with it the possi- 
bility of the reconciliation of Christianity and culture; and 
it was only when the romantic lack of restraint opened the 
way for the predominance of talent over the sens du vrai that 
this belief and the will to bring about the fusion, collapsed. 
It was towards this conclusion that Peguy's intuition was 
leading him when he discovered the relationship between 
the Greek and Jewish 'disciplines' and the principle of 
T insertion de Teternel dans le temporeP. 

There are three conditions, Haecker maintains in Christen- 
tum und Kultur, in the absence of which the organic relation 
of Christianity and culture is not possible. First, he says, 
there must exist a relatively sound and healthy intellectual 
tradition; second, this must be accompanied by the will to 
conceive; and third, there must be present, in those who 
believe, a real strength, the power, that is (and I should say 
the imaginative power) to communicate their beliefs. These 
conditions are precisely those which Sainte-Beuve lays down 
in the passage quoted at the beginning of the introduction. 

But all these conditions are subject to the central point, 
restraint and reserve of mind, which might perhaps be 
translated as integrity. 

'One thing', Haecker writes in the Journal, 'one thing 
has come to full maturity in me, the understanding that I 
do not understand God, the sense of the mjsterium. That is 
what prevents me misunderstanding the things of this 
world'. It is Haecker's reserve his 'silence' that makes 
him speak of not misunderstanding the things of this world; 
and that double negative establishes the frontier between 


the mystagogue, who argues directly to a positive knowledge 
of things, and Haecker's different claim. The distinction 
is by no means new, for it is at the very core of tradition 
itself. In his Reflections, Burckhardt marks the same difference 
when he distinguishes between true and false scepticism. 
The ground common to both Haecker and Burckhardt lies 
in the parallel so often used by Kierkegaard between 
Socratic ignorance and faith, and in his strict identification 
of (false) scepticism and superstition. That is the first 
step in grasping the rational basis which Haecker and 
Burckhardt regarded as the meeting point of Christianity 
and humanism. The ultimate mystery of existence is the 
safeguard of truth and knowledge, the only safeguard 
against the inadequate attempts to explain everything, and 
the absurd denial of meaning. * 

"The theologian is alone in a position to be certain, from 
the beginning, that the absolute inconceivability of God 
must, in a sense, be expressed in the relative inconceivability 
of the world". 

Theology, thus understood, is the safeguard of the Summa, 
of the totality of knowledge, and of the independence of its 
various fields, for otherwise the various sciences all tend to 
usurp the primacy and, going beyond their charter, try 
to explain the various 'orders' from within their own 
'order'. That is the meaning of Peguy's insistence upon the 
'humility' of his 'intuitive method' and his criticism of the 
'gigantic conceit' of Taine and Renan who seriously enter- 
tained the notion that our knowledge was almost complete 
'Mais on voit le bout', Renan said.*}" 

This does not of course mean that theology is the master 
of history in the sense in which Acton supposed; but the 
misinterpretation is so ingrained that it is important to 
reaffirm Haecker's standpoint. The Journal is, I think, 
clear in its rejection of this stout pretension, but I will 

* The point of view in question is the subject of Sermon XIII in 
Newman's University Sermons. 

f Introduction to Uavenir de la Science. 


quote some of the many entries in which this rejection is 

"There is a tendency, and God does not seem to be averse 
to it, to explain the things of this world almost 'totally' and 
entirely and purely from the immanent laws of nature, from 
the causality of the causae secundae; and what is more to do 
so on the whole field of created being, from physics and 
chemistry to politics and metaphysics. There is nothing 
incomplete about it. And in a sense that is a good thing. 
And then, moreover, it surely makes natural theology a 
matter of quite tremendous importance?' 5 

In the past, and even in the present, theology has fallen 
into the error which Acton thought endemic : 

"Even in the West, Christian theology has shown a certain 
cowardice, and a miserable want of understanding of the 
munificence with which God has endowed created and 
creative nature and the world with power and energy of its 
own; and the testimony of history to the fight of the Church 
against the natural sciences and its representatives and their 
great discoveries is one that shames us. It arose from a great 
fear that the natural laws might lead to a proof of the non- 
existence of God. That is its only, all-too-human excuse". 

Ultimately, the weakness comes from attempting to meet 
rationalism on its own false ground : 

"At times the Zeitgeist is overwhelmingly powerful. 
Rationalism for example, was so powerful that it even 
compelled men who were in essence antirationalists to 
think and speak rationalistically, at any rate up to the point 
beyond which it was no longer possible or permissible; 
for example Pascal and St. John of the Cross, whose 
mysticism, in so far as he renders an account of it and 
a justification of it, is the end of rationalism, exhausts it". 

The collapse of theology, the failure of the romantic 
movement (and Hegel began as, and to some extent 
remained, a theologian), though not endangering scientific 
investigation immediately, led to the loss of the summa, and 
nowhere is this more evident than in history. When Mohler, 


the great Munich theologian died, and was succeeded by 
Dollinger the summa which had been before the minds of 
men like Coleridge and Kierkegaard was in the process of 
being sacrificed, unconsciously no doubt, to 'universal 
history'. And though Ranke's history became universal 
in some measure, it was primarily a quantitative 'Uni- 
versality'. What was being lost was the unity of history, 
and within a short time the universality of outlook, deprived 
of the controlling force of unity, decayed into relativism, 
and history was deprived of meaning. 

It is here that the importance of Burckhardt can hardly be 
exaggerated. Burckhardt composed no universal history, 
though his Reflections have been included under that heading. 
But in everything he wrote, and particularly in his Greek 
Culture, he is concerned with the unity of history framed, as 
it were, between the alpha and the omega, between the 
origins and the end. 'The philosophers' he says, 'encum- 
bered with speculations on origins, ought by rights to speak 
of the future. We can dispense with theories of origins, and 
no one can expect from us a theory of the end'. Burckhardt 
had, in his way, understood as clearly as Haecker the role 
of theology; the Jewish conception of history is dom- 
inated by origins and end, creation and eschatology; 
Burckhardt's study of Greek culture did not lead him to 
usurp that function. His 'great theme of contemplation' is 
easily defined: 'We, however (unlike the philosopher of 
history, whom he dismisses as a centaur) shall start out from 
the one point accessible to us, the one eternal centre of all 
things man, suffering, striving, doing, as he is, was, and 
ever shall be. Hence our study will, in a certain sense, be 
pathological in kind'. His study is in fact concerned with 
man's feelings and his imagination. 

Burckhardt's view of the immediate future was as dark 
as Haecker's, but their point of view cannot usefully be 
studied within the framework of optimism and pessimism, 
progress and reaction. The spirit, Haecker concludes, 
bloweth where it listeth, and to Burckhardt man's creative 


faculty the imagination was essentially free; both be- 
lieved in man's capacity, to build himself a new house 5 * 

To Haecker, the harmony of faith and reason however 
difficult to attain and retain was the basis of his belief in 
the possibility of an organic relation between religion and 
culture which, to be consistent, rationalism and irrationalism 
would have to deny. This harmony is the achievement of 
'spiritual man' in whom all the faculties, intellect, will and 
feeling are integrated. Only this integrity allows of no 
premature reconciliations and Haecker was harsh in his 
dismissal of the 'Europe and the Faith' theme c an object 
lesson in how not to bring Christianity and culture together', 
untrue in fact as well as in theory. 

Burckhardt's Reflections are, at this point, at one with 
Haecker' s, and he saw in the Middle Ages a period when 
religion 'occupied all man's highest faculties, particularly 
the imagination' so that it is not longer possible, he held, 
to say whether religion influenced culture or culture religion. 
But at the Reformation 'religion lost touch with a powerful 
faculty in man, the imagination' and was forced to etherealise 
itself (the word is Burckhardt's). Whenever that happens, 
and he notes in particular the disintegration which followed 
upon the Carolingian renaissance, religion becomes 'ration- 
alism for the few and magic for the many'. 

Perhaps Haecker's view of the relation of Christianity 
and culture in Europe is best expressed in the entry in which 
he says that a conscious apostasy from Christianity is only 
possible after a prior return to barbarism* The Journal is a 
record of his meditations on that event. P^guy's religious 
'approfondissement' occurred to the accompaniment of his 
reflections on the relation of Socialism to Catholicism in 


the Third Republic* ; Haecker's faith was tempered during 
his last years as he listened to the 'extinct' voices of the 
Third Reich. And his sense of the harmony of faith and 
reason was so deep and strong that, as he felt himself plunged 
into a new dark ages, he described his own state as being 
'the dark night of faith', for his faith had become wholly 
contemporaneous . 

The Journal is Haecker's most personal work, though not 
perhaps his most representative. Haecker's importance is a 
different matter; and in conclusion I will note briefly 
wherein, as it seems to me, it lies. 

It is a fact, curious at first sight, that for a long time past 
the relevance of Christianity in the modern world has almost 
invariably been brought home by those writers who are 
furthest from the traditional defence, who overlook or 
disregard or even deny the harmony of faith and reason. 
Tradition, in that sense, is itself irrelevant. Once again, 
Kierkegaard is the classic example. It even appears as 
though, in modern times, men desired an irrational religion, 
or were content to despair of the possibility of the harmony 
of faith and reason. 

c Dieu est mort, mais Fhomme n'est pas pour autant 
devenu athee. Ce silence du transcendant, joint a la perm- 
anence du besoin religieu chez l'homme moderne, voila la 
grand affaire aujourd'hui, comme hier. C'est le probleme 
qui tourmente Nietzsche, Heidegger, Jaspers.' f 

Does it even torment M. Sartre? What this seems to 
mean is that our rational, notional apprehension of God 
is dead and fruitless, and that the scientific demonstrations 
of natural theology are 'irrelevant' because they do not 
elicit from 'transcendence' anything but silence. That is 
certainly inevitable, for an impersonal question cannot 

* Le mouvement de dfrtpublicanisation de la France est profondement 
le meme mouvement que le mouvement de sa dechristianisation C'est 
ensemble un meme, un seul mouvement profond de ddmistification. 
Notre Jeunesse. 

f Sartre Situations I. pp. 153. 


elicit a personal 'answer'. Haecker notes in the Journal 
the difference between a philosophy whose starting point 
is doubt and one whose starting point is wonder, and 
that difference might be stated epigramatically in the form 
that doubt being impersonal receives no answer.* 

It is writers like Pascal and Kierkegaard, like Bloy or 
Peguy, who convey to the modern world the relevance of 
religion because their arguments and apologies, though 
the opposite, at times, of traditional, are led by a strong 
gust of feeling: the paradox, the 'choice 5 , the 'leap' concern 
the whole man and involve all his faculties: intellect, will 
and feeling, in a word what Kierkegaard calls 'spiritual 
man'. They are primarily concerned with 'the communica- 
tion of the truth' and not solely with its demonstration, 
and consequently with the problem of style in its widest 
sense, with the image as well as with the concept. 

Haecker's importance is to have treated this 'grande 
affaire' methodically from a variety of angles, always from 
the point of view and upon the principles of the philosophia 
perennis. I say methodically to avoid saying systematically, 
and yet to emphasise the fact that while he by no means 
rules out the paradox, he gives it its proper place within 
the truth. The 'grande affaire 3 is the reconciliation of 
philosophy and mysticism which, regarded as rationalism 
and irrationalism are, of course, irreconcilable; and it is 
perhaps the characteristic of Haecker's work that it con- 
sistently refuses to be drawn into the whirl-pools created 
by these alternatives: 'Apart from the "faith" the only 
choice is between "the inadequate" and "the absurd" *. 

* Journal. 

L Joy untouched by thankfulness is always suspect. 

2. Rejoinder: The most powerful means of forwarding 
the events of the world seems to be stupidity, the stupidity 
of the Fiihrer, of the Leader, and the stupidity of the led. 

3. The extinction of thought is quite horrifying. Someone 
remarks that man is changeable, but that the German is 
eternal. And he is quite incapable of drawing the conclusion 
that in that case Germans are certainly not men. 

4. It takes a certain vulgarity of mind, an intellectual 
coarseness, that is of course moral as well, to believe that 
the means do not matter, that the e how' makes no difference, 
and once that vulgarity loses its sense of shame, people 
openly declare their belief. 

Tugend und laster 
Scheidet der Knecht 
Alles ist Recht* 

In fact it is the c how j which decides the value of a man or 
of a policy. The revolution brought about by Christianity 
is in the 'how'. 

5. November. The stone of offence, in natural meta- 
physics, is the mystery. And the danger is either not to see 

*Between virtue and vice 
The serf distinguishes 
Everything is right. 



it or to wish to explain it, and thus disturb the hierarchical 

6. Even the profoundest truth looks flat beside the abyss of 
revelation. In the last analysis it misunderstands the nature 
of the understanding. 

7. I really have to like an author before I can take up 
his faults in any detail: all that he might have done 
better, and so on. In most cases I leave them entirely 

8. I have been horrified latterly at the capacity of the 
human voice, quite apart from what it says, simply in itself, 
to express the spiritual extinction of a whole people ; and 
not merely individually, but to betray, to express and 
proclaim it typically, representatively. The voice of the 

9. 18th November. A loss in time and for time is a loss 
one gets over. 'Too late', in this context, comes under the 
rubric 'humour'. It is quite a different matter when one 
acts unlovingly towards someone. If that can not be made 
good in time, then it lies as heavily on one's heart after 
twenty years as it does after two; for love is a res aeterna, 
and nowhere, if I may say so, is the need for eternity so 
compelling and so insistent, lest we render existence mean- 
ingless. At this point, even the rights and the power of 
humour are abrogated; and to maintain them obstinately 
is either a mere pretence, or a sign, of depravity. 

10. Hypocrisy and shamelessness are the two poles of 
depravity between which men move. But although Christ's 
anger over the shamelessness of the money-lenders in 
the temple was so great that he gave it outward expression, 
perhaps his anger over the hypocrisy of the Pharisees was 
not less. 

1939 3 

11. It is probably true that the longest stretches of history 
are marked with the sign of mediocrity; but then again, 
mediocrity has few heroes and few geniuses. In modern 
times, one of the heroes of the half-educated, at least as far 
as the German nation is concerned, was Houston Stewart 
Chamberlain. He concocted a soup that wrecked the brains 
of a whole generation of constitutionally enfeebled minds. 
And with what results in every day life! Good God! 

12. It is only natural that Physiognomy should achieve 
considerable results in the natural order, and in the hands 
of a person of gifts and experience should yield a considerable 
accuracy of judgment. But once a man is out of the ordinary, 
and is exposed to demoniacal powers, or even becomes their 
tool, Physiognomy misfires not of course in principle, and 
in respect of the natural 'being' of the man in question, by 
no means. But it goes grotesquely wrong with regard to his 
influence or the role that he may play. 

13. A certain longing to be forgotten and hidden is the 
mark of the contemplative; he alone might take as his 
maxim, Ad BL&T. The natural impulse of the man of 
action is towards fame and reputation and 'publicity 9 . 

14. The moment when an hour is worth a million years 
or is as worthless, because they are not eternity! For the 
spirit desires eternity. That is its home. And until it has 
realised that, it has not really come to itself. 

15. The profusion of nature is surely a want, or the sign 
of a want, or a very inadequate remedy for a deficiency. 
Thousands of blossoms yield a few fruits, millions of men 
hardly one genius. 

16. 'Will and Truth': what a theme it is! or rather: 
Truth and Will'. It is curious how the will asserts itself 
against the hierarchical order! Just as though in fact, 


'by nature 3 , the will came first: How finicky, doctrinaire, 
and scrupulous to say: Truth and Will'. Only listen: 
'Will and Truth 5 , how final and masterly it sounds: The 
World as Will and Concept. (Schopenhauer). 

17. Rejoinder: If God is all-powerful then it is an unfathom- 
able mystery that a just cause should be defeated. And if 
that fact is evaded in a sermon on the subject, it does more 
harm than good. Rationalism is the great enemy of belief, 
and thus the great falsifier of being. 

18. Absolute and continuous satisfaction in a man would 
be the image of the nothing out of which he is created; 
an absolute and continuous dissatisfaction, an image of the 
hell he has chosen. 

19. The ends and objects which men set themselves remain, 
by and large, the same. Revolutions are about the means. 
God's revelation is a revolution concerning the means which 
man is to use in order to achieve salvation. Aristocracies 
are always constituted by the 'how' of life, that is by the 
means which are, and which are not allowed, by what is 
and what is not e done'. 

20. When he prays to Christ, it is the privilege of the 
Christian to be able to pray to the true God by name. That 
is the 'sign' for today. When anyone nowadays says God, 
he may of course simply mean destiny, or some awful cari- 
cature of 'providence'. But if a man prays to Christ, then 
he necessarily prays to the Father, who is God, like Christ, 
and to the Holy Spirit who is God, like the Father and 
the Son. He cannot do otherwise. Nothing, nowadays, so 
defines and separates men according to the spirit, as the 

21. The mystical and symbolical interpretation of Scripture 
is only possible by virtue of the substantial similarity of all 

1939 5 

being, by virtue of the formal principle of analogy. Allegory 
too, which is as a rule a curious mixture of infantilism and 
rationalism is only possible on that basis. 

22. Nominalists, who say it is ultimately a matter of in- 
difference what one calls the divine, are dangerous people. 
In Revelation, God gives his name : I am who am. Who else 
shares this name? Can anyone else claim it? Is it the dis- 
covery of man? Could a man discover it? And could any 
man have foreseen that this name was to be illuminated 
in the Trinity: Father, Son and Spirit? Really, the nomin- 
alists are ridiculous! 

23. It would be terrible if God were not the God of the 
exception too. 

24. Rejoinder: You Christians are so proud that your God 
is the God of all men. But on looking closely one is more 
likely to come to the conclusion that he is the God of few, 
and in a terrifying way: of few! The God of the most 
rare 'exception', the God of the chosen, of the elect. If God 
wishes a man to search for him, and to find him, he does 
not give the key of that man's heart and thought to any- 
one, not even least of all, to anyone who loves the man, or 
is loved by him. Then a man really has to search in all 
seriousness, for not to be understood is to be unhappy. But 
God permits himself to be found, and the certainty that 
one will be understood by God and indeed of being under- 
stood by him, is a flicker of the happiness to come. 

25. Problema: In the darkness there was a light that 
became night. He woke up, his eyes and his cheeks wet with 
tears. He could not remember the dream, though he knew 
that he had dreamed. And yet from that night on, his life 
was different. He had received a light, which let him see a 
whole new dimension of being. But the source of this light 
is in complete darkness. 


26. 26th November. The simplest words are often the 
most moving : 

Ich hab einen falschen Weg gemacht, 
Ich kenn mich nicht mehr aus 
Ach, immer dunkler wird die Nacht, 
Ich find nicht mehr nach Haus. * 

The child's complaint in the fairy story is that of the soul 
lost in life. The lines came to my mind at my first reading 
of 'The Ascent of Mount CarmeP by John of the Cross; 
I was so astonished at the moving simplicity of the poem 
which, at first sight, gives one no inkling of the depths of 
the interpretation which is to follow. 

27. The apotheosis of physical strength and health leads, 
first of all, inevitably to contempt of old age, and then, 
to contempt of wisdom. Such a thing has never jet happened 
in European culture, either before or after Christ. Nor in 
the East for that matter! It means devastation to the souls 
of men; that, God will not permit; we may rest assured of 
that, assured by our faith, for it is the 'Fathers' of the 
Church who suffered for us and taught us. 

28. 3rd December. The great pride of the children of this 
world is not to be children any more; and for this reason 
alone they despise the Christian, who is always, necessarily, 
something of a child. And how could it be otherwise? When 
one of God's names, revealed by him, is 'father'. 

29. O. thinks that the result of all that is now happening 
will be to show how irrational all being is, and how severed 
from our thought. But that is too vague. I think that the 
Germans will perhaps learn two things, two things which 

*I have taken a wrong road, 
I no longer know my way, 
Oh, the night grows even darker, 
I'll no longer find my way home. 

1939 7 

are only superficially contradictory: first, that the dis- 
regard of 'reason 5 , provided it rests upon a foundation of 
wisdom and experience, never goes unpunished, and that 
consequently the world is not in this sense irrational at all; 
secondly, that the purely materialistic rationalism which 
rules in Germany today leads to the most gross errors even 
in the field of elementary psychology, and fails completely 
where the spiritual life is concerned. Bismarck was not a 
great statesman, any more than Napoleon, yet he recognised 
'imponderabilia', which though far from being 'the in- 
visible' are nevertheless on the borderland. But nowadays! 

30. It is safe to assume that the Germans will do everything, 
both consciously and unconsciously, in order to forget as 
quickly as possible all that is now said, written and done. 
The memory of a guilt weighs heavy, it 'depresses*. If he 
can, man throws it off. But in the success of the operation 
God, too, has a word to say. 

31. 4th December. There can be no question for the 
Christian but that the significance of outward events varies 
in the most terrifying degree. By significance is here meant 
the relation, closer or more distant, of the 'history* of the 
world to the 'history' of the Kingdom of God. A Christian 
cannot be of Ranke's opinion, that every age is equally near 
to God. Or could he, then, deny that Rome under Augustus, 
Judaea under Herod and Pilate stood in a more decisive 
relation to the history of salvation than, say, Europe under 
Napoleon not to speak of lesser things? The proximity or 
distance in the relationship does not depend upon the 
consciousness of men, although it is not to be denied that it 
could not be entirely excluded from the consciousness of the 
men of that time. That events now stand in close relation 
to the history of salvation, is something upon which many 
will agree with me. And from this it follows, moreover, 
that the outward events in the life of the individual come 
under the category of 'decision.' 


32. Except for that which is, there is nothing. That is a 
metaphysical proposition which no one can deny. And if 
anyone, nevertheless, does so, there is no sense in talking 
with him. The puff which blows out a candle has more 
significance than his flatus vocis. But then begins the labour 
of interpretation, then the never resting world of dialogue 
begins, the dull, distorting mirror of the world of being. 
Mundum tradidit disputationi eorum. (Eccl. 3, 11). 

33. The use, as synonyms, of 'to be mistaken 9 and 'to err' 
completed by the pleonasm 'to go astray', is one of the many 
examples of the impoverishment of language which results 
from muddled speech. Lack of imagination leads to a 
weakening of thought, and this, once again, prevents the 
discovery and recognition of this lack, and language be- 
comes ever poorer in images and thought 'to be mistaken' 
comes before 'to err 3 . First of all he made a mistake, then 
he erred. I make a mistake standing, and going along I 
therefore go on the wrong path : I err. 

34. 7th December. Superbia: 'I was predestined to the 
greatest sins 5 said the devil, and grew even prouder. 'Who is 
like me'? Perhaps the 'Lamb'? 

35. Ad se ipsum 

From my childhood 

When I was imprisoned by the beauty of poetry, where 
light and water, sufficient unto themselves, were full of 
brilliance, all the springs dried up, and the eternal melody 
itself fell asleep. I no longer recall who or what awoke me. 

36. Ad se ipsum Never forget that you were only allowed 
to write 'Satires and Polemiks' * because you had promised 
to break off, so to say, when things were at their best, when 
that particular path pleased you most. You had to go 
another way, that pleased you less. And now the same 

* Satire und Polemik, 1914-1920, published 1922, Haecker's first book. 

1939 9 

thing is happening again: You have to take a different 
path, one that pleases you even less. 

37. Curse the image that denies you the word ! Pass on ! 
But I want the rest and peace, which are only to be found 
in the image, and not in thinking. You are a stranger, a 
wanderer, a pilgrim on earth, so flee the image, that 
renounces the word. 

38. One's astonishment, half tragic, half comic, at coming 
across a good sentence that one has completely forgotten 
having written. Poverty and wealth! 

39. The measure of confusion will be full to overflowing 
when sophists write the history of philosophy, Catalinas the 
history of states and nations, and heretics the history of the 
Church. In the past, hardly more than a tendency in Europe, 
it has now become a serious matter. 

40. 9th December. On the wireless today a star fell from 
the firmament of German literature, "their eyes were opened 
and overflowed." My God, eyes opened long ago might 
have flowed, when it fell and was extinguished on a swamp 
of abuse from a political robot consisting of a baritone voice 
and lies. 

41. I have finished many a song, and been the first to 
sing it. And now they sing it after me, as though it were 
anonymous. That is as it should be. Let me thank God, 
that I am that far. And let me complain to God that I 
am only so far, and can even think of such things. 

42. Second Sunday in Advent. When all is over, then of 
course even Physiognomy will claim to have been right. And 
indeed God would not condemn the nature which he 
created, to lie. He is a faithful God, and 'true 3 They will 
be able to point to the photographs and say: How could 
it have been otherwise, it simply had to happen! And isn't 


everything on the surface? How could people be deceived. 
And they will make everything appear much simpler than 
it was. 

43. God has spoken in many words through his prophets 
and through his 'Word'. No man is free to alter these words, 
but he is free to use them on suitable and, alas, on unsuitable 
occasions. That was the whole risk. For it would be impos- 
sible to calculate the misfortune which is brought about by 
using a divine saying at the wrong moment, and not using 
it at the right moment. 

44. All the thoughts that keep on breaking through the 
principal theme are only of evil when they block the way 
and make it impassable, not when they make for more 
space or even make it infinite. 

45. Christ also died for 'barbarians 5 , but he did not become 
man as a barbarian, nor did he live among them, or choose 
his disciples among them. The relapse of civilised nations 
into barbarism is moreover not possible unless they first 
abandon Christianity. 

46. Psalm 73 


You have shown us, O God, the essence of evil, its pride 
and its triumph in excess and to the point of despair. 
O Lord, many are falling into unbelief; let us ask you, in 
a spirit of faith, now to fulfil and illustrate the other truth 
of the psalm, for the consolation of your servants and to 
your honour. 

47. The sun shines upon the just and the unjust. These 
great primary blessings, the laws which determine and hold 
creation together are or seem to be indifferent to good 
and evil. Good and evil deeds (corn and weeds) both fall 
under the law of growth and ripening. These categories and 

1939 11 

laws do not belong beyond good and evil, but belong to 
the primary goodness of creation, which no power, how- 
ever diabolical can change. 

48. 1 7th December. All our knowledge is received, in 
the first instance, through our senses, but we soon begin to 
suspect that things and truth are originally in the spirit. 
And according to Revelation (Eph. 3, 15) we are told that 
all fatherhood is in the image of God, that all fatherhood 
takes its name from God, who alone is really 'father'. I was 
thinking today, how can one compare the hardness and 
the hardening that is in the senses, to the hardness and 
hardening of the heart and the spirit? And all the presenti- 
ments of my youth, and its unconscious, but deeply felt 
platonism, suddenly awoke. It seemed to me almost a 
revelation when I wrote : How impoverished is your spring, 
a miserable image of the heart within me; but then you 
do not know the winter of despair in my soul. 

49. The Germans too want to be a nation c like others*. 
But without success. They can only be much worse than 
the others. They are the abhorrence of the whole world. 
The Prussian leaven has soured the whole nation and 
falsified its mission. 

50. Looking with a certain contempt upon Christianity, 
you observe that it has no philosophy, no metaphysic. But 
is that not an error? The Christian's metaphysics is that 
he eats God. 

51. In order to do justice to the spirit of Europe a philoso- 
pher must know the chief European languages, ancient and 
modern, and their different images, in order to free his 
thought from them, and in order not to lose himself in any 
particular one. 

52. 15th December. To equate 'impulse* and 'instinct' 
with the will, as though it were a conscious impulse only, 


is vague, confused. No instinct can be dominated by itself, 
though even the strongest instinct can be dominated by the 
will. Will is spirit. There is no sense in saying: will is 
instinct, to which spirit (consciousness) is added. It is some- 
thing completely and absolutely new in itself. Will is 
spirit its flame, just as intellect is its light. 

53. Nietzsche, Wagner and Houston Stewart Chamberlain 
are in fact mainly responsible for the present condition of 
the German mind. It is they who move the doers, and the 
evil-doers. Wagner as a musician, is the least guilty, the 
impure accompanist. 

54. After the war, the aspirations of 'socialism' will un- 
doubtedly be strengthened, yet still without attaining the 
really decisive strength and power of nationalism. A 
compulsory solution of the social problem, namely through 
impoverishment, is ambiguous. Everything depends upon 
spirit. As men are, some form of enslavement is probable; 
ingenious or shrewd, or both, favoured by men's inclination 
to deceive one another as well as themselves. 

55. The greatest and bitterest enemies of Christianity, 
those who hate it most, fail completely to see one thing: 
that Christianity arose and always arises anew, differently, 
utterly differently from their Kingdoms and institutions. 
A man, an animal, a plant, a machine can only go to pieces 
or be destroyed within the Order in which they arose. The 
same is true of the kingdoms of this world, and of the 
Kingdom that is not of this world but is in the world. 
What the deadly enemies of Christ's kingdom can destroy, 
is everything about the Church which is of this world. That 
may be an astonishing amount, a disturbing amount; so 
much indeed that it looks like everything. The Kingdom 
of Christ, stripped of everything, rests upon faith, hope 
and love. Those are not powers which play a part in this 

1939 13 

56. Third Sunday in Advent. Gaudete Rejoice, 

and again I say to you: rejoice! Once again, as always, 
astonishing words. The ever new, original and yet identical 
explanation which the saints of God give of their 'joy* is a 
proof of its genuineness, even for those who do not or have 
not known it. And so, O God, I rest satisfied with the pale 
and distant joy that your saints know, joy such as the apostle 
has described it : Gaudete . . . 

57. The man is playing for high stakes. Let us not deceive 
ourselves! Indeed, the game is so high that only the 
words of the psalmist fit the case: 'The Lord laughs at 
them 5 . But it will fail or pass away unless it breaks into 
the laughter of insanity But human laughter is not equal 
to the task 'God laughs at them 5 . And then one must 
remember that Germany is not exactly the country in which 
the ridiculous kills; on the contrary, the ridiculous acts as 
a sort of preservative. 

58. To Konrad Weiss* on his 'Konradin von Hohenstaufen* 

Whose song but yours returns unto itself 

As oft as yours, till all that's lovely must 

Perforce into abundance overflow, 

And lose itself where naught is never lost? 

None struck so true into the heart of pain 

That it still beats while making fair lament. 

Yes, falconry's a Hohenstaufen art! 

A marvel in lean days! Hail, Konrad Weiss! 

Will nevermore this world's deep wound be healed, 

Is there no peace in God? Must he still rock 

The cradled world? Was not Christ born for us 

And rose again? Alas, O Konrad Weiss! 

* One of the most important contemporary poets, who died in 1940. 
Konradin was his last work. Die Kleine Schopfung published by the Insel 
Verlag is probably his best known poem. 


59. Anyone who is not horrified by the man has nothing 
in him either of God, or of the devil. 

60. It is normal that a Nobody should want to become 
Somebody in the world. There is nothing to be said against 
it; it is nature. But how seldom it is that this Somebody 
should then strive to become Nobody before God, although 
that is the only path if one is to reach God. The same thing- 
is true of this Nobody, as of the 'nothing' of the Summa. 
There is a difference between the nothing before the Summa, 
and the nothing after the Summa. Only a sophist can deny 
it. Someone might perhaps say that this is the very place 
for the most diabolical superbia. Perhaps, but it is a danger 
one must take upon oneself. 

61. The proper distinction between genuine guilt and 
innocence is one of the great and unavoidable tasks of the 
future. To say that natural necessity is guilt may produce 
just as much misfortune as the contrary, and may lead to 
the absolute denial of guilt. It must be admitted that we 
live in great ignorance and uncertainty. 

62. Once Again: Konrad Weiss 

Whose song but yours returns unto itself 
As oft as yours, till all that's lovely must 
Perforce into abundance overflow, 
To lose itself in nothingness, its aim? 
None striked so true into the heart of pain, 
That it breaks out in lovely loud lament. 
Yes falconry's a Hohenstaufen art! 
Music of home, and of the Swabian, Weiss. 

Will God's deep wound, mankind, be never healed? 
Has God Himself no rest, must he still rock 
The cradled world because it will not sleep? 
Was not Christ born for us and rose again? 

1939 15 

If he comes not today, will he not come 
Then at the last? Is this some tragic mime? 
Must we remain without a holy hymn 
Because we wait and no Redeemer comes? 

Does faith lie dead, and withered all our hope? 
Are hatred reason, love delusions then? 

63. A "Grammar of images' is a philosophical undertaking 
worthy of a young man, if he could carry the burden of 
knowledge already accumulated. The first thing to meet 
our eyes is boundless confusion, and the first requirement 
would be to bring about order, perhaps with the help of the 
co-ordinates : body, soul, and spirit. (That in itself is an 
instructive example of an image which is substantially 
inadequate, but helpful by analogy). The images derived 
from the sphere of the body are naturally far from being the 
most numerous, although nowadays augmented by the 
quasi-images of technical thought. The broad middle is 
occupied by the rich images of the soul, that is to say 
of life. 

64. 27th December. The most aristocratic contempt is 
undoubtedly the philosophical, that is to say intellectual, 
contempt of Heraclitus. Political contempt is as a rule only 
the contempt of the greater for the lesser scoundrel, because 
he is the lesser. 

5. To 'dispute 5 with God is either the beginning or the 
end of faith. But it always presupposes a tendency to faith. 

66. The most primitive attitude in a great war is this: 
that one side is absolutely right and the other absolutely 
wrong. The thing becomes more difficult and problematical 
as doubt allows us to see that right and wrong may be 
shared. But it does not really carry one much further. It 
stops short at a more or less clever objectivity and neutrality, 


which is practically harmless if one lives in the eighteenth 
century, and the war is in Turkey or China. But nowadays 
things have come much closer to us and to one another. 
And here begins the distinction of principles and teachings 
and theories. A nation whose centre is a miraculous image 
of the Mother of God may commit the most horrible and 
horrifying atrocities, but after bitter expiation it will be vic- 
torious over a nation whose centre is a rationalistic heretical 
capital, whose fidelity and honour is thoroughly hypo- 
critical and false. As a private individual, Constantine the 
Great may well have committed more sins public and 
private than Julian the Apostate. But the Christian had 
every reason to wish victory to the former and destruction 
to the latter. 

That is the last thought of the year. 


67. The world in its being is beyond the power of human 
understanding to survey clearly. Anyone who does not see 
that, or denies it, can only be left alone, to go his own way. 
Yet many who, at a pinch, agree, nevertheless demand that 
the system of a philosopher should be absolutely clear in its 
survey though it is only the spiritual image and repre- 
sentation of the world, itself impossible to survey. Still, 
they are not entirely wrong: To be able to survey clearly 
is one of the essential demands of the mind, and to this the 
philosopher must do justice. Only he must recognise his 
boundaries as human and keep to them. 

68. There is a deal of pride in the demand of Kierke- 
gaard's thought, to be faithful always, in all circumstances, 
to his idea. The idea may only be human, after all and 
then how weak and how untrue the demand would be. 
And perhaps when he is no longer true to it, in pain and 
shame, he is pursuing God's idea. Then he will have learnt 
humility, and through it reached victory. 

69. There is an honourable irrationalism which is ulti- 
mately just the capitulation and respect of human ratio 
before the divine. But there is also an ignoble irrationalism 
to which the youth of present day Germany tends which 
tries to use 'destiny' to conceal and stifle the voice of con- 
science and to deny that there is logic in the consequences 
of crime. It is all very easy, and does not come within 
measurable distance of the sophoclean conception of tragedy. 

17 c 


70. 2nd January. There is only one sermon to preach 
today, the triune God; do not get involved in anything else. 
With that alone you will be able to discern the spirits of 
men, and compel them to reveal themselves. Never tire of 
repeating it: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The Christian 
God is the Trinitarian God. They call their devil or their 
idol God, too, and sometimes ven e the all-powerful'. But 
they do not call him Christ, whom they hate or despise, 
and they do not call him 'Spirit'. How should they, since 
he proceeds from the Father and the Son? 

7L Immortality is in love. It is love which first makes it 
intelligible and, what is more, desirable. Without love 
immortality would be frightful and horrible. 

72. Loneliness. An image .... in the night he dreamed. 
An angel called the name of all those remembered by one 
single soul with love. That lasted an infinite time. At first 
it left him indifferent, it disturbed him, he yawned, he 
laughed contemptuously. Then he grew restless, and he 
began to wait for the sound of his name. He grew un- 
speakably sad, and he wept. That lasted an infinite time. 
His name was not called, and the voice became silent. 
The sudden silence was like a clap of thunder, and 
woke him. He found his pillow wet, but his eyes were 
hot and dry and burning as though his tears had dried up 
for ever. 

73. I am often uncertain and almost blind where things, 
events, books, sciences are concerned. I only begin to see 
their worth, or worthlessness again when I look at the people 
whom they influence. 

74. In that part of the history of Christian Europe which is 
the history of Germany, this war might, and I hope will 
be the end of the hegemony of Prussia, which had in fact 
reached its height at the beginning of the war. 

1940 19 

75. To the perfection of being there belongs its knowledge 
of itself, and so too, to the 'perfection 9 of evil. It is good 
that evil should 'know itself'. It is certainly difficult to attain 
clarity at this point, and perhaps impossible. Thought 
becomes confused. 

76. Indiscriminate work is a very uncertain remedy against 
ennuL The one sure means of dealing with it is to care for 
someone else, to do something kind and good. 

77. No one is master of the effect of his sentences, and 
often one is not even responsible for their good or bad 
effect. Often enough what is right has the reverse effect 
upon the perverse; and what is perverse in itself acts rightly 
on the right-thinking. 

78. Man, it seems, is not equal to setting up a just social 
order on his own. He is hardly able even to perceive the 
two principles upon which he has to build, namely that men 
are equal and unequal^ and consequently that he must be 
true to both principles. As a rule he prefers the easier way 
and takes only one as his starting point: either equality, 
or inequality. The result of this one-sidedness is always a 
catastrophe. But even if the necessity and the validity of 
both principles are recognised theoretically (and this is still 
far from being the case) the immeasurable difficulty only 
begins in applying the principles in practice. And I am of 
the opinion that at this point man cannot, of his own 
strength, reach a satisfactory conclusion. He needs illumin- 
ation, the immediate help of God in prayer and in leadership. 

79. Christians are once again becoming the minority that 
'does not count'. Undoubtedly they will distinguish them- 
selves from other minorities that c do not count' by the fact 
that they will be persecuted nevertheless. 

80. To many, war is a satisfactory alibi before the world, 
even though not before one's conscience or before God. 


81. When one thinks how difficult it is even for a Christian, 
even in thought, to leave revenge to God, one can imagine 
what is going to happen soon in Germany, What will the 
victor of this war do? Unless he leaves revenge to God, 
both war and victory are lost. 

82. Intercession is difficult and in fact impossible to man, 
without grace. Two things are necessary for true inter- 
cession. If I am to intercede for a man before God, I must 
love him. Otherwise it is mere empty formalism. But in 
the moment I intercede for him, I must not want anything 
from him for myself. And that is difficult, even if I love him. 

83. Variations on one and the same theme, that Nature 
brings off times without number, so happily, so surprisingly, 
and so perfectly that the boredom of the semper eadem is 
drowned in the astonishing idem per aliud, come very hard to 
the conscious artist, man. They are rare, and most often 
found in music. There are two rocks between which the 
art of variation has to navigate : the theme in its original 
form should be neither too apparent nor too obscured. 
Furthermore: the variation must itself be something new 
and surprising in a deeper sense. On the other hand the 
theme in its identity must be contemplated (heard) immedi- 
ately (by one who is trained, of course), and not merely 
painfully arrived at. 

84. I am not in the least afraid of playing with words 
that are free from the Word, or of killing time that is without 

85. Why, when they hate the Cross, do they talk of a 
crusade against plutocracy, why not a Hakenkreuzzug, a 
crooked-crusade? Why not a new language for a new thing, 
if it is new? 

86. I came across the following sentences in a 'thriller': 
"Now, instead of everything going right for him, everything 

1940 21 

will go wrong for him! And he, too, will begin to make 
mistakes 5 . (In English in the original). Could a certain 
aspect of what is happening today in the history of the world 
be made intelligible in words clearer than these? 

87. It is difficult enough to know one's way about in one's 
own thoughts; how much more difficult where one's 
feelings are concerned. 

88. Many men find it difficult to believe that God can 
forgive. The Prophets were always having to repeat this 
very thing. David was a man after God's heart, not least 
because he quite simply accepted God's forgiveness of sin 
as a fact, nor did he on that account overlook the seriousness 
of sin and the necessity for penance. The intellect as such 
is absolutely unable to bring us understanding of the for- 
giveness of sin, and the will can only do so in a political 
sense. It is only with love that it can be conceived. 

89. 2nd February. A letter from the Franciscan who gave 
the last sacraments to Konrad Weiss and who talked with 
him on St. Stephen's day shortly before his death, about 
my verses thanking him for Konradin. What a pleasure to 
have given pleasure! 

90. My eyes are skinned for men who could make peace 
after this war, but I find none. The peace of death is what 
they can all make, but the peace of life! If God can no 
longer guide men's hearts as he guides the raging torrent, 
then all is up. Am I without faith, hope and love? No! 
But it is night, a night, however, which is both salvation 
and asylum, sent, as it were, by light. A complete lack of 
understanding, and yet one which is sent, so to speak, by 
the understanding. Not one which it disavows, or is dis- 
avowed by it. 

91. The religious man wishes to know the God he has to 
serve and who helps him, by name. The 'philosophical 


mind' believes that this is unnecessary and unneedful. He 
is content, or only dares to speak of anonymous 'divine 
powers'. That is what Pascal meant by Dieu d' Abraham, 
d' Isaac et de : Jacob non des philosophes! The Christian knows 
the names of God : Father, Son and Holy Spirit. 

92. What is the most difficult thing for men? Measure: 
'the golden mean'. And this is true in theory, in teaching 
as in practice, in doing and acting. And that makes one 
despair that things will go better after this war. Those 
with a sense of measure will not have the power to make 
the peace, and those who have the power will make peace 
without 'measure'. 

93. The Germans have a 'natural' disposition for religion. 
And for thav very reason they can only be united religiously. 
They could only be so in the Catholic faith and its unity. 
There is corisequently something painfully unreal and 
untrue about public invocations of God on official occasions. 
It is something done with a bad conscience. And we shall 
never get away from that, though ever so many among us 
were to be true friends of God, or even followers of Christ 
as individuals t 

94. Propaganda: In spite of a gigantic weight of lies the 
things of this world still function for an astoundingly long 
time without breaking to pieces; they almost seem to be 
strengthened. It is a mysterious and awful fact, and a great 
temptation to the spirit, to doubt the decisive significance 
of the truth in regard to the events in this world. But it is 
only a temptation : deep inside the spirit of man there is an 
assurance that lies destroy a man, and also a nation. 

95. It is a serious business to form a doctrine, a view of 
the world, a Weltanschauung, out of the average 'natural' 
aspirations of this c world'. Nor is the seriousness of it lessened 
because the world is comic and ridiculous in its new 

1940 23 

'teachings' and its new styles. Anyway, to be ridiculous is 
no danger in Germany, and certainly not fatal; and then 
everything 'false' is essentially ridiculous! Even the Devil 
is in certain respects comic and ridiculous. The most 
important thing, and this is what is new, is to construct a 
e doctrine' inductively upon the factual practice of evil men, 
and to provide it with authority and sanctions. For example, 
justice without love, complete mercilessness and so on. 

96. 13th February. What strikes coldest in one's heart is 
the spiritual state and the behaviour of the German Judges. 
They condemn a man to prison for standing a Pole a g : ass 
of beer. That is really frightful. 

97. To make God responsible for all and everything may 
of course be the blasphemy of a sinner and a demon, or it 
may be the praise of an angel or a saint. In fact, a creature 
must ultimately reach the point at which he throws every- 
everything upon God. On the other hand there is the 
inescapable demand of the free spirit to be autonomous and 
consequently to bear the responsibility for everything he 
does. But how can the two aspects be harmonised unless 
the created spirit becomes divine? 

98. The spirit of man that always longs for a new expression 
of the old, remains in the direct line of God's creation that 
unceasingly creates new individuals, new expressions, that 
is, of the same 'kind'. The mechanical copy is just about 
the most inhuman, and what is more the most ungodly thing 
that can be imagined. 

99. 20th February. Altmark: Running amok in lies. 
How childish it is to want to save Europe from destruction 
by changing governments and economic policies. Only a 
complete change of sentiment and conviction and of heart, 
a Meravoetv can help us. And 'Prussia', certainly, is the 
great hindrance. 


100. The inconceivability of God lies before my silence 
and behind all my words. Could I but express it in my own 
words, I should be a great writer. 

101. Patriotism lies in the nature of man and is something 
so self-evident that any exaggeration or emphasis is only 
painful or ridiculous, and smothers it instead of sustaining it. 

102. There is no one who cannot imagine something more 
perfect than he is and than he was. That may be one of 
the proofs of his imperfection. But is perfection necessarily 
capable of imagining something less perfect? And would 
that be a proof of its perfection? 

103. Ultimately, after all, we are made for happiness 
which is, so to say, the normal and the certain. The Church 
declares that certain men whom she names by name her 
saints are, with unquestionable certainty, in heaven. She 
does not say of any man, that he is quite certainly in hell 
not even Judas, the betrayer of the Lord. She says it only 
of the Devil, over whom she has no jurisdiction. 

104. Rejoinder: God created the grass-hopper and the 
shark and the wasp (a beautiful animal) and the flea and 
the louse and the bug (more beautiful animals!) Would he 
have created them if he had not taken pleasure in them? 
And you expect to understand this God? How silly that is! 
He places the world's destiny in the hand of a gipsy, a 
knife-grinder, a ham actor, a buffoon, or, in case I am going 
too far (and I don't want to say too much), he uses him as an 
instrument. That takes some understanding! The only 
explanation would seem to be a certain constraint upon God! 

105. Woe to the poor man who has no other prayer but: 
Lord help thou my unbelief! 

106. 'Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words 
shall not pass away'. If anyone believes that to be true, then 

1940 25 

he believes at the same time that it is God who said it. 
Those who know anything about words know how ridicu- 
lous it is for a man to appeal to the everlastingness of his 

107. If anyone were to have doubts about God because 
he could not conceive Him, he would simply not have faith. 
For that is the beginning of faith when a man cannot 
conceive Him. 

108. 24th February. The voice of the Wolf as the voice 
of providence. That is how it proclaims itself, shouting 
about the Herrgott, the favourite word of the German 
blasphemer. And it ends with a quotation from the great 
German heretic, Luther: And even if the world were full 
of devils .... Oh 3 how he mocks his own, and knows not 
how. A German destiny indeed. But only wait a year! A 
whole long year in blood and filth! 

109. There are writers, unlucky men, whose quills adorn 
others, but not themselves. 

110. 25th February. The German Herrgott-religion for so 
we may call it after yesterday's speech begins to take shape, 
vaguely of course, because that is what it is. It undoubtedly 
has something in common with Mohammedanism, for at a 
pinch it is monotheistic, and absolutely anti-trinitarian. It 
is much less universal than the religion of Islam, makes no 
claim to be so, and could make no such claim; on the other 
hand it is 'fanatical', as dervishes ought to be, but then again 
unimaginative, dry, Prussian: *A fanatical sense of duty* 
its ideal, the most frightful and horrifying that mankind has 
ever seen. The principles of the German Herrgott-religion go 
far beyond those of the English 'plutocrat 5 s-religion 9 ; it 
accepts the success of a deceit, a betrayal, of murder or 
violence as a proof of the blessing of the German Herrgott. 
Success alone makes any action, however monstrous, blessed. 


'By their fruits ye shall know them'. In the German Herrgott- 
religion Christ's words are given a different sense. It is not 
the tree which bears good fruit which is good, and the tree 
which bears bad fruit which is bad; but the tree which 
bears fruit whether good or bad is good, and the tree which 
bears no fruit is bad and what indeed is the purpose of 
the fruits which are visible only to heaven, which an adherent 
to the German Herrgott-religion does not, and cannot see. 

111. The temptation of those of little faith: Terhaps he is the 
instrument of God, and we are disobedient, rebels against 
God's will'. Seven years of success are after all a sign from 
God!' Patience, patience, and in this hour, read the psalms, 
in this long hour, which is granted with such sublime 
generosity to evil, in this anxious hour. 

112. The interlarding, combining and mixing of the lowest 
personal interests and the highest vital interest of public life 
lias surely never before been so successfully managed by a 
party, both consciously and unconsciously. The solution in 
fact was a super-human task. Only war, after all, which is 
certainly something of a divine judgment, could solve the 
problem. Perhaps! 

113. One must be careful of asserting that such a thing 
has never been, excepting as regards quantity, and mass, 
for that may well be true; but in other things one must be 
careful. And so I cannot tell whether there was ever a 
time when such great power was granted to evil. However 
that may be, it is a curious age. As for the means of poweV 
in this world, everything is in the hands of evil. God has 
given it a free hand on a grandiose scale. Yes, to the very 
limits, beyond which even the just would despair. 

114. Because the fulfilment of mankind will only be com- 
plete in an unknown period of time, in an objective con- 
tinuity certainly, though the continuity will not always be 

1940 27 

conscious and subjective, nor in a direct line, but zig-zagging 
and spiralling about, it follows that individual races, and 
individuals themselves experience things and have to adopt 
an attitude towards them for which there is neither analogy 
nor comparison in the immediately preceding years, though 
no doubt in earlier times. We today, in Germany, under- 
stand the first Christians much better than the Christians 
of the Middle Ages at their peak. We also understand them 
incomparably better than the Christians of the Middle Ages 
could or did understand them. 

115. I am to be master of my thought, my will and my 
feeling! In all truth, is there anything more mysterious than 
such an /? What is it then? With what, through what is it 
to be master over thought, will and feeling, if it is to be with 
and through thought, will and feeling? Or is there something 
else above these three, something simply indescribable? The 
inaccessible essence of being, the person, having 'power 5 , who 
is 'powerful 5 ? 

116. 28th March. If a man paints Christ, he paints the 
second person of the Trinity who became man. That is the 
first principle for a Christian painter. All other questions 
are to be considered in that light. The first person of the 
Trinity is not to be painted. That one may make no image 
of him remains true, now as formerly. The third person of 
the Trinity the Holy Spirit, is represented in the form of a 
dove, according to revelation, for reasons which to us are 
inscrutable. The second person really became man. So that 
the image of the second person must be the picture of a real 
man. That allowed and allows for many conceptions. 
Signs and symbols belong in a different order. We are 
speaking of images. 

117. None of Christ's contemporaries appears to have felt 
the need to possess a drawing or a painting or a statue of 
him. But undoubtedly the desire soon awoke and was 


satisfied, and so it has gone on from that day to this, in ever 
changing styles and conceptions. Nor will it ever cease. 
And I only note it for the painter's sake, and because of his 
difficulties the painter of today, in the west, who not only 
has to bear the weight of a tradition two thousand years 
old, but has to come to terms with it. In no instance is he 
any longer a 'naive' artist, that is out of the question. 
Anything attempted in that direction bears the stigma of 
unreality, and of untruth if not of mendacity. 

118. The gospels and the letters of the apostles moreover, 
do not give the artist the very slightest hint about Christ's 
outward appearance, except perhaps for his age and the 
indirect information that he behaved like other men of his 
time and certainly did not stand out as original in any 
outward sense or desired to draw attention to himself. The 
first reason for this is that it was not in the character of the 
time to attend at all to the eyes or the hair or the nose of a 
person in a story. Nor is anyone so described in all the 
gospels. The one exception is, to a certain extent, Christ 
himself, since he talks to one of his disciples, quite in general 
of course, as a typical Hebrew, even externally. And that 
presupposes that one was quite clear as to what the type 
of a true Hebrew was. 

The second, deeper reason why nothing whatsoever is 
said about Christ's appearance in the gospels, is that his 
spiritual being put his physical appearance in the shadow 
for those who were moved and believed. Naturally it was 
there, even in its effect; and that spiritual being, action and 
speech did not have just any appearance, but had a quite 
definite one, of that there can be no doubt. The writers of 
the gospels were deeply moved and believed: it was the 
spiritual aspect which penetrated, outshining the psycho- 
logical and the physiognomical effect. Though it was there. 
Men who were not affected, who did not believe, of which 
there were many, many more, could more easily have 
observed the outward man. They could have 'made a 

1940 29 

report', they could have registered a photographic impres- 
sion. But more on this point later: I have a theory of my 

119. 31st March. I often wonder whether the world 
would not be more understandable if there were no animals 
in it, for it seems to me that they are the most un-under- 
standable of all things. Writing at night, I have often 
contemplated moths and fantastic green flies for hours, 
gazing as into an abyss. I can stand for hours in front of 
an aquarium with my understanding motionless. And then 
there is the suffering of animals. But what does it really 
mean: 'understanding'? For I always have the impression 
of being much further away from a thing I 'understand' than 
when I don't understand. 

120. When I think back to the hours spent writing, and 
all its happy side, the curious mixture of unmerited inspira- 
tion (brain-waves) and most intensive personal activity, its 
quite incomparable joy and pleasure, then it almost seems 
to me that it is a life worthy of eternity and unendangered 
by the disgust that would certainly follow the prolongation 
of any other mental or physical pleasure. 

121. A world catastrophe may serve many purposes. As 
an alibi before God, for example. Adam where art thou? 
C I was at the world war'. Only it's a coarse excuse. Others 
search for an alibi in their own consciences. Adam where 
art thou? 'I was with my conscience does it not belong to 
me' ! That is the subtlest way of all of avoiding action. 

122. Many a man thinks to satisfy the great virtue of 
moderation by using all his shrewdness and bringing all 
his experience to bear upon limiting his pleasure to 
his capacity for pleasure. But simply by the fact of 
setting enjoyment as the end, he has radically violated 
the virtue. 


123. When dare a man say everything about God and 
ibout his ordering of the world? When he loves God 
hat, the Old Testament teaches us. When I see a man do 
t without love, it sends a shiver down my spine. 

124. The attributes of God in which a Christian believes 
ire hard for the human understanding to acknowledge. 
[t is well that he should freely recognise this. The difficulties 
lo not always remain the same. God's allpowerfulness and 
ove are, as a rule, the points in question. Certain facts 
mown from our vision and knowledge of this world must 
:>e used, in their analogical sense of course, and that right 
:arefully. In a darkened room, shut in, I cannot see the 
sun-lit earth. From a height I perceive things which I 
doubted on the level. My natural knowledge grows and 
matures, and with time I acquire insight and so on. 
Why should a man, better, more blessed than me, not 
have less difficulty in the matter of allpowerfulness than 
[ have? 

125. Beware of the terrible light-hearted simplifiers both 
theoretical and practical. They create the most hopeless 
:onfusion imaginable, in the long run. Omit something, 
md you bring about a disorder infinitely more disastrous, 
;han that produced by the mere muddler. 

126. The belief in an evil power, in the devil, in the Prince 
)f this World, has much declined in the last centuries. It 
s the remedy for many distorted forms of belief, but its 
ise is a delicate matter, for inevitably it leads people to a 
alse view of the world. The state of this world simply 
:annot be understood if we omit the power of evil. This 
langerous conception has slipped in even among Christians 
as a result of an omission. Evil is forced back into 
nature', and becomes c comic' (a war, for example, is a 
;omic event), and even into the 'demoniacal 5 powers of 
lature, this side of good and evil and there conceals itself. 

1940 31 

Then the state of this world is seen to depend on the all- 
powerfulness of an all-loving God, and on original sin and 
the sins of mankind. But that is not an adequate basis; 
man, in this case, is over-rated, over-valued. He simply 
has not got the power to disrupt the world, to make it as 
it is. A man to whom this sort of faith has been taught, and 
it is certainly not the Christian faith, might justifiably fall 
away upon a closer and clearer consideration of it, or again 
his soul might sicken. He would have to look upon God 
as either without power or without love. Man cannot get 
away from good and evil, either by the most violent ana- 
themas, or by watering it all down something always 
remains, even when good and evil are degraded into useful 
and useless. 

127. The most radical denial of the need of redemption 
in this world seems to me to lie in the phrase, 'the eternal 
recurrence of the same 3 (Nietzsche) . Logically it represents 
a fantastic confusion of thought, since quite evidently every- 
thing points in the very opposite direction. Theologically, 
it is at an infinite distance from God, and it turns everything 
upside down. At this point discussion is no longer possible. 

128. One of the more difficult things to determine is the 
degree of corruption and the number of false principles 
with which the nations put up and the length of time they 
endure before the catastrophe conies. Usually, it lasts 
longer than one thinks. Comparisons with individuals and 
with families easily lead one astray. And those who further- 
more believe that God has the destiny of nations in his 
hand, will take the greatest care. 

129. How I started, when the deadest voice of the Reich 
(Goebbels) ended his speech with the words : Traised be . . .* 
He even paused could he have forgotten himself, have 
dropped back into memories of childhood? But he continued 
'Whatever hardens us*. That, of course, is in line. The 


religion of the German Herrgott is the religion of the 'heart 
of stone'. They will be beaten, they will be ground to 
powder, and then they will once again desire a heart of 
flesh and blood, 

130. 5th April. The eternal recurrence of the same 5 . 
Psychologically it is precisely his fear of a repetition that 
fascinates a man's spirit, hynotises him, so that in order to 
attain peace, he throws himself into this abyss of nonsense. 
A hellish affirmation of the horrible. I thought at one time, 
light-heartedly, that this matter could be answered with 
scorn and contempt. But at this point ridicule loses its 
power. The world is very much deeper. Ridicule does not 
go deep enough. It is a form of rationalism, and it, too, is 

131. 6th April. To the man who believes that there is 
such a thing as a blessing, and that it is of the greatest 
moment, and is linked, by and large, to certain conditions 
which the recipient must fulfil, by fulfilling the laws of God, 
to this man the immediate future is shrouded in darkness. 
For things are happening upon which God's blessing 
cannot rest. 

132. Rejoinder: 'And so one may say that ultimately you 
only believe in God because you are convinced that the 
devil exists, and that he has power' Yes, that is how 
things stand, although you express yourself rather 
crudely. In point of fact, I should deny the existence of 
God if anyone were to insist that there were no evil spirits, 
infinitely more powerful than man, and that the whole 
frightful misery of mankind lay purely and simply in its own 
sinfulness and in the imperfection of nature. 

133. One begins to philosophise with wonder. But 
then, too, philosophy ends in wonder. . Is this wonder 
perhaps a sign that the spirit of man is created? For 

1940 33 

why, otherwise, should being be in wonder at itself, 
at being? 

134. It seems to be reflective rather than immediate 
thought and knowledge, that lead to doubt and to 
rebellion against God. I have suffered much both spiritually 
and physically in my life. But only once did it end in 
doubt about the righteousness of God and in an attempt at 
rebellion; and then it was the mercy of God which restrained 
me, so that instead of the curse that was on the tip of my 
tongue, I stammered out the blessing of Christ: Blessed 
art thou, Simon son of Jonas, for thou believest. I can 
remember the night and the room well. But it was the 
presence of a reflective element which brought things to a 
head. For weeks I had been expecting the unbearable pain 
(I had no narcotic at the time, not even aspirin); and so, 
too, on that night. It is quite another matter when it comes 
to seeing the misfortune of others, children suffering, for 
example, or hearing reports of concentration camps, battle 
areas and so forth. Then my understanding is brought up 
against quite other difficulties. When my son Reinhard 
was a year old, and for weeks on end had attacks of croup 
every night, almost choking to death, everything became 
dark before my eyes, for I could not and cannot see in this 
the faintest glimmer of reason, it is utterly unintelligible. 
Man has no immediate consciousness of the innumerable 
generations that preceded him or of those that are to follow. 
Ten or a million are all one. Everything that a generation ex- 
periences in the way of misfortune happens, where immediate 
consciousness is concerned, just once. And yet it happened 
and happens probably for millions of years. That is reflective 
knowledge. And it creates difficulties. It puts the unanswer- 
able question: why this endless repetition of unspeakable 
misfortunes through thousands of generations? That is 
where faith has to fight its hardest battles. And it can be seen 
that reflection, where the stream of knowledge always runs 
thin, is its greatest opponent, and its most dangerous one. 


135. 'Mockery' has many levels. It can even be affec- 
tionate, but it can be as poisonous as hell. It does not exist 
in the fullness of love, except possibly as a means of education 
and aimed wholly at the good of the object of laughter. But 
that is rare. A healthy pride and an honest contempt for 
what is base may make use of mockery, even though they 
may prefer to remain silent. Mockery is the favourite 
weapon of Schadenfreude, a sign of its base origin. And 
sometimes it is only a mask, concealing a poor, sad, unhappy 
and broken countenance. Man, unlike the angels is so 
changeable. Weakness is one of mockery's favourite targets, 
man's real weakness, and God's apparent weakness. God, 
in all three persons, was and is mocked daily. Why do the 
great and powerful of this world fear mockery and the 
mocker? It would be inexplicable if they were certain of 
their power. But they are not. There is a weakness in them, 
and if none other then in this at least, that they are anxious 
lest they lose their power. 

136. c On the seat of the mockers', as it is called in scrip- 
ture, sit the lost souls, those who hate God and man and 
themselves. But even there, nothing is final. One day they 
may stand up in order to fall down on their knees and adore 
what they once mocked. 

137. The fame of this world vanishes like smoke. That is 
true enough. But this, too, must be realised, and made 
real. That is to say, a man must acquire and possess this 
fame and then recognise that it is nothing and leaves his 
soul empty. Only then is the saying true. Those without 
fame only say half the truth, and the other half is a lie. 
Even a nothing in this world must, so to say, become body. 
In this world every truth must have a body or receive one. 

138. There can be no neutrality towards God. That is a 
simple and intelligible proposition. Now, if man is God, 
or the immediate emanation of God, then sooner or later, 

1940 35 

he will say, according to the measure of his power: no one 
can be neutral towards me. 

139. 9th April. The Germans stand by the words of their 
beloved teacher, Martin Luther, pecca fortiter mentire 
fortiter. And since the whole of Europe lies, and they lie 
fortiter, they are successful, at least until someone no longer 

140. The most hopeless misunderstanding: he does not 
see what I see, and I do not see what he sees. 

141. There are many people who do not deny that the 
things of this world are symbolic, but they hold that that 
which things signify, that which they symbolise is nothing real 
or capable of determining our actions. Is that not poor 

142. It is of the nature of things that they might equally 
be other than they are, and that is more astonishing than 
they themselves. And that is what makes time and not space 
the inmost problem of our being. 

143. Kierkegaard's thesis that the prevailing category of 
the demoniacal is the 'sudden' has been demonstrated to 
the full in recent times. 

144. c To be master of one's fate' is a crude expression which 
needs first of all to be interpreted in order to yield its truth. 
How should I be master of something which as a rule is not 
in my hands? 

145. Being presupposes nothing but itself. That is both 
clear and revealed: I am who am that is certainly true. 
And so it is not a will without being, so to speak, which first 
creates being. Will is in being, so that one can undoubtedly 
say: being wills itself. That is true of absolute being and 


of God. It is otherwise with created being. As being it 
presupposes the divine Logos and as existence, the divine 
will. Only in the case of created being can one speak of a 
primacy of divine will. 

146. The truly philosophical spirit is a contemplative 
spirit. It is not captivated by the things that one can 
change, but by those, precisely, which cannot be changed. 

147. Love is the fulfilment of the Law, not its destroyer. 
It is hierarchical, not anarchical. And because it is the 
fulfilment, its violation is the real sin. A man will be 
measured by his love. 

148. "Science" (Wissenschaft), necessarily uses a positive, 
historically developed language from which the element of 
'chance 3 is not excluded, * on a level of general understand- 
ing. Not so 'wisdom. 5 Wisdom has a much more inward, 
deeper 'language', mysterious in its essence, and related to 
silence. But what has the scientific method to do with 
silence? It must speak in the simplest sense of the word. 
More than the half of wisdom, however, is in silence. 

149. In this world and in this aeon evil is often cured by 
evil, provided only that one is careful that Beelzebub who 
drives out the devil does not remain behind, doing his work. 
Hypocrisy can be expelled by shamelessness, and human 
nature can once again find its balance in the slow labour 
of salvation. Hypocrisy is of all conditions the most hated 
of God, according to scripture. And in the last centuries 
hypocrisy has ruled European politics. It looked as though 
the various dictators intended to supplant it by shame- 
lessness, and so bring men to their senses and set them on 
the right path. That was an illusion. For in the meantime 
hypocrisy and shamelessness have signed a shamelessly 

* For example, the word Academy, derived from the name of a 
garden where Plato taught. 

1940 37 

hypocritical pact in the name of these dictators, against 
which only a martyr can be victorious. Perhaps the great 
outpouring of grace is to come that Blumhardt hoped 
for in his old age, longed for, prayed for and perhaps 

150. All great gifts are one-sided and pretty well exclude 
the others. As always, human nature is limited. The man 
who possesses the highest gifts in the hierarchic order, does 
not necessarily possess the lower gifts. On the contrary! 
Because they were the chosen people, the Jews had the 
highest gift in the hierarchic order, the gift of religion, but 
to the exclusion of all others, with the one exception of 
poetry, and then only in the service of the divine. It was 
only later, and after they had crucified Christ, that they 
became 'artists' in the pagan sense, in the sense of the 
gentiles, the peoples, gentes: and then they were only 
'talented', though they often had very great 'talents' and 
that is a very curious fact, worthy of note. The Jews have 
never been philosophers, poets, painters, sculptors, archi- 
tects, not even technicians in an original, fundamental 
primitive sense, like all other peoples. There, too, they are 
unlike others. 

151. 'He was one of the most widely read writers of Ms- 
day, and today it is quite impossible to read him, one cannot 
even understand his success'. That is the hardest thing 
that can be said of an author, and reveals what time is as 
a counterpoise to eternity. 

152. What is the secret of German military power? Who 
can say? The incapacity for leisure and enjoyment? The 
complete adaption to the 'world'? The extinction of every 
metaphysical need, so clearly revealed by every official 
German voice? Does it belong to the providential vocation 
of the Germans for the Reich, which remains theirs even 
though they ignominiously betrayed their trust? 


153. 13th April. Snow and rain. What about the Ger- 
man Herrgott, the 'stony-hearted God 5 ? Is he really a demon 
scorning his adepts, not allowing a single blade of grass 
to grow in this extraordinary spring? Or are the slow mills 
grinding, are the mills of the true, eternal, trinitarian God 
grinding more quickly? 

154. Rationalism and irrationalism are both the fruit of 
pride. Where the one sees the other is blind thus do they 
contradict one another. Rationalism sees, rightly enough, 
that ultimately things must be understood, and are reason- 
able, but in its pride, thinks that reason itself, that is to 
say human reason, is the measure of all things : and that 
what it cannot understand is simply non-existent. Irration- 
alism sees very well that things do not fit into reason, and 
yet they are. But thinks, in its pride, that things are 
irrational in themselves, even to the divine reason. 

755. The worst of poverty today at any rate the most 
galling and most difficult thing to bear, is that it makes it 
almost impossible for one to be alone. Neither at work, nor 
at rest, neither abroad nor at home, neither waking nor 
sleeping, neither in health, nor what a torture in sickness. 

756*. Lead us not into temptation! What can this prayer 
mean, since God certainly cannot tempt any creature to 
evil? And yet a request simply cannot be so utterly un- 
intelligible to us as to have virtually no meaning at all. 
We may and must try to give it some meaning. Personally, 
I interpret it in the following sense: that God should not 
conceal himself entirely, or for too long, in the ordering of 
things public and private, in order that the believer may 
perceive the outward covering of the thread, that is hidden 
to the VorkT. If God were to withdraw himself entirely, who 
could keep the faith? According to his promise, he will 
not do so; but in order to avert this temptation, into 
which, unlike all others, God himself can lead us, it is taken 

1940 39 

up into the great world of prayer : c Lead us not into temp- 
tation! 5 Show thyself! That thy mills do not grind too 
slowly! Show us thy love and thy justice. Let no one doubt 
that thou art the Lord, let no one despair! Psalm 42. 

157. Our first comprehension of the world and of things 
through human reason and the human senses is far from 
having been fully explored. We comprehend a great deal, 
at least as a whole, that needs to be analysed, but must not 
be 'constructed', for this may lead to the most serious errors. 
Now, no investigation of any kind can begin without 
presuppositions. And this is the supposition: first, that what 
is given contains very much more than appears at first sight. 
And consequently, no premature simplification! Secondly, 
that which is given is ordered hierarchically; thirdly, the 
relation of the parts to the whole is full of mystery. 

158. There is no longer a god of war, and in consequence 
no fortune of war! Mars and Fortuna have been thrown 
out and the machine has been brought in, working to a 
fraction of an inch. Man has been so dehumanised that his 
capacity for error has also been reduced, and may, in 
practice, be overlooked. 'Lead us not into temptation 3 ! 

159. The blossom of a cultivated cherry tree is quite as 
uncompounded, and direct, and indivisibly 'blossom* as 
that of the wild cherry. 'Culture 3 does not destroy immediacy 
and directness, but enriches, ennobles, and beautifies it. 
Indeed the immediacy as such is more plainly revealed. 

160. Of no individual thing can one 'say* what it is. Our 
very first comprehension implies this. We comprehend that 
the understanding never gets to the bottom of things. 

16L One belongs to the world as long as one is more 
ashamed of & faux pas, a display of ignorance, a wrong turn 
of phrase, a misquotation than of an unloving action. 


162. One of the most arrogant undertakings, to my mind, 
is to write the biography of a man which pretends to go 
beyond external facts, and give the inmost motives. One 
of the most mendacious is autobiography. 

163. About an author: He gives the appearance of wanting 
both in his writings and in himself, to hold the balance 
between faith and doubt, to stand above both and to wait 
and see who is .right. An attitude, indeed, which is only 
possible to such a strange being as man. God protect him! 

164. Rejoinder: The contrary of faith is unbelief, not doubt. 
Faith and unbelief cannot be in a man at the same time. 
Faith and partial scepticism may well be present simul- 
taneously, at any rate superficially. A sounding, however, 
then gives the one or the other: faith or unbelief. 

165. A clean and tidy classification which awakens a 
sense of completeness and of a proper emphasis upon the 
individual parts, is an intellectual pleasure, though it must 
not be allowed to cloak the danger of arbitrariness and 
subjectivism. How difficult it is, in fact, to interpret in 
any detail, even the most certain, universally valid, objective 
classifications of being, life and death for example, good 
and evil, ugly and beautiful, will, reason and feeling! 
How almost impossible it is to penetrate their inter- 

166. Spiritual life and spiritual thought does not mean 
living or thinking without the body or even against the body, 
it means living and thinking hierarchically. The new 
slogan about educating man on c a physical basis' (vom Leibe 
her) is of course anti-Christian, since Christianity aims to 
educate man spiritually: it is hierarchical. That it has made 
many mistakes in education is not to be denied, principally 
when it became bourgeois and, losing all sense of elevation 
and of the traditional hierarchic doctrine, fell into indolence 

1940 41 

and heresy. But education c on a physical basis' only 
produces animals. 

167. To do one's will leads to satisfaction and to a joy 
of a quite particular, incomparable kind. It is said: 'Man's 
will is his paradise'. To do one's own will and to be auton- 
omous is essential to happiness. It is the happy union of 
God's will and the creature's own will, of the man adopted 
in Christ. And freedom then is not impaired. To do one's 
own will belongs to the essence of freedom. 

168. Man cannot deceive God. That is not too difficult to 
perceive. Nevertheless he always tries to deceive Him. And 
so one has always to repeat that one cannot deceive God. 

169. Can anything really be done by man unless he does 
it of his own will? If not, then one would have to distinguish 
between willing and willing. Many a man has to do work 
which he does not 'will' to do, and that he only does in order 
to earn his daily bread, or to avoid punishment. 

170. Stars that as things are, are infinitely distant, are 
flying away from us, so the astronomers tell us, with a speed 
of 20,000 kilometres a second. Why? They can't say. 
Some aver that the only alternative would be for them to 
move in our direction, for they cannot remain where they 
are, motionless. But why not come nearer? Or are they 
uncertain of polishing us off as long as the strongest military 
power in the world gives them to think? Or is it just simply 
a matter of taste to fly before this planet? 

171. What more perfect image of the New German than 
modern military music? Respectable warlike sounds mixed 
with a dull brutality and a smarmy sentimentality. 

172. 20th April. How little truth man needs in order to 
live, and how many lies! Nescio, mi fill, quam multis mendadis 


regitur mupdus (I do not know, my son, with how many lies 
the world is ruled). 

173. Their voices, my God, their voices! Again and again, 
I am overwhelmed by all that they betray. Their deadness 
is the most frightful thing about them. The stinking corpse 
of a vox humana\ Death, disease and lies, and a solitude 
proud of being deserted by God. 

Under the hegemony of Prussia, today at its peak, 
the Germans have always been driven back more and more, 
whether they wished it or not, upon the motto : oderint dum 
metuanL (Let them hate, as long as they fear!). That leads 
to a bitter ending, for the fear will disappear, and the hate 
will remain. 

174. The world's knowledge is never without pride. And 
so its mouth is ever full of contempt, scorn, rejection, and 
unfriendliness. And always without joy. It is not as though 
knowledge itself were without joy, but the pride embitters it. 

175. 21st/22nd April. Everything was so dark in my 
life, and God illuminated it. Do not forget it, O my heart! 
Do not forget it! 

176. Might a just man put God to the proof? which is 
not the same thing as tempting God. The Bible tells in 
favour of it. But he may not do so often. 

177. I can at any time so sink myself in a thing or an 
occurrence that its initial intelligibility is swallowed up by 
its essential uninteiligibility to my reason. 

178. 24th April. During long years of suffering, perhaps 
I too have been an occasion for someone to doubt the 
righteousness of God, and perhaps at the very moment 
when I myself was most inwardly assured of the justice, 
and of the love of God. 

1940 43 

179. The assurance with which some men draw practical 
consequences from theoretical truth, as though they were 
the only possible ones would be enviable, if nothing depended 
upon it (it so simplifies life) but as things are it is more 
nearly a misfortune and even frightening, for so much in 
the end depends upon it. It makes a difference, naturally, 
whether a heretic is burnt or celebrated as an original 
genius. There are periods when men are sceptical of the 
deductions which their reason is capable of drawing. Today 
that is not so. The consequences deduced from the most 
threadbare 'scientific' hypothesis are looked upon as though 
they were eternal truths. 

180. If the possibility, indeed the probability of a personal 
immortality could or had to be imparted to men simply 
through arguments addressed to their reason, then the 
Christian faith today would be in a desperate position, for 
it presupposes that we live on, or again one might say that 
personal immortality is an integrating aspect of the Christian 
faith. But the probability of a personal future life is not the 
discovery of reason ex nihilo, but is on the contrary based 
upon a sort of instinct in man, which may certainly be 
silenced at times, but always comes to life again. It may be 
drugged by the intoxication of life, by great successes, dis- 
coveries, inventions, conquests and by the fog that so easily 
rises within a man, produced by a certain animal health. 
When disappointments of every kind, and illness and the 
infirmity of age and the certainty of an early death lead a 
man back to that instinct, and he consciously orders his 
thoughts, and returns to 'the faith 5 then the proud and 
unbending onlookers have a habit of saying: it is their 
enfeebled understanding which makes them capitulate. But 
that is an undergraduate argument, a superficial and careless 
way of thinking. In any case, one might with quite as good 
grounds say that a path which had been closed or blocked to 
thought had been opened and made free. And furthermore 
that the eye now sees things that were formerly in mist and fog. 


181. This age is not favourable to the eternal. There is 
no doubt of that. But is that not the rule? So that the men 
who live in an age favourable to the eternal are exceptions 
and live in an illusion if they do not know the rule. The old 
words of wisdom: No rule without an exception, but the 
exception proves the rule. 

182. The German Red Cross has as its badge an eagle 
puffed up with pride, a Hakenkreuz for a heart, sitting on 
and digging its claws into a cross, the red cross. They 
have to reveal themselves! 

183. Short dialogue: It must be a dispensation of Provi- 
dence that the gramophone record should have been 
invented for an age when the human voice is of such great 
significance and betrays so much. By their voices ye shall 
know them! How easy it will be for the future historian to 
judge, if only he has the records at his disposal, and plays 

But to whom, my friend (to how few), is given the gift 
of discerning voices. (Karl Krauss possessed the gift in a 
remarkable degree). And then is it given to Historians? 
Do not overrate it! At the present time the gift seems 
hardly to be widespread. How would it have been possible, 
otherwise, for it all to have happened? 

That is no doubt true; and yet the disease in question, 
resulting from a reversal of the hierarchic order, was the 
reason for the sudden appearance of these voices, their 
success and the failure to recognise them this specific 
disease, I maintain, can and will disappear (to be replaced, 
no doubt, by another) and then everyone (even the 
historians) will suddenly hear the horrible disease and 
the depravity of the voices, their emptiness and their 
'possession' and that is no contradiction the spiritual 
stupidity and dumbness in the bellowing mask. Only 
believe me, it is the work of Providence that there should 
be records. 

1940 45 

184. Compassion without love does exist. It is certainly not 
worth much, and is often paired with baseness and deprav- 
ity. It is often the 'fury 3 whose 'heart of gold 5 beats loudest 
for "our dumb friends". But there is also love without 
'compassion', in the ordinary sense, for physical suffering. 
This may make a man seem cold and hard and even cruel, 
although he may show great compassion where spiritual 
misfortune is concerned. And .naturally, that too is not 
right. The most difficult thing of all for man, is a sense of 

185. The gods of the Germans decorate themselves, roll 
their eyes and bellow no wonder they are called bar- 

186. 27th April. The Germans will not be conquered by 
the strength of man. They are the strongest and most fright- 
ful people on earth. They will be conquered by God himself, 
alas, and probably without noticing it. 

187. Athanasius the Great said of the Emperor Julian, 
who was persecuting him to death, and whom he barely 
escaped, that he was 'a cloud which would soon pass by'. 
Less than two years later the cloud had vanished. Today 
things are different. Perhaps because there is no Athanasius. 
We must wait. Watch and pray! 

188. How sad age would be without the joy of the young 
over which to rejoice. But that, too, is only melancholy 
without the hope of salvation. 

189. What the preachers of Christ's words need is surely 
a new voice, and a different manner. A c style' is always 
necessary. Neither Peter, nor Ambrose nor Augustine nor 
St. Thomas, nor Newman can have spoken just as they 
thought, or without thought. But the style current now has 
surely become a quite shapeless, rusty old container? Both 


unnatural and contrary to nature, as well as unspiritual. 
A painful, false note, enough to make a man of the present 
day run away. Is there not a correlation between evil will, 
erroneous thought and forced or false feeling (and what 
may it be?) But my sight is feeble; I cannot follow the 
threads, I only confuse them, or lose them. 

190. I have long maintained that to find out where a 
concept or a word really belongs is properly speaking a 
philosophical task. It is something much more than etym- 
ology as it is usually treated, which is only a valuable 
scientific help towards a properly philosophical knowledge 
of the different elements. 

191. 29th April. Richard Wagner, 'Siegfried's death' on 
the wireless. What a magician! Genuine barbarism, shaped 
to the ears and moulded to the style of the bourgeois salon 
of 1880 (they still exist today, in 1940). No wonder he is 
regarded as the musical prophet of the incomparable 
barbarism that rose up out of the decaying bourgeoisie. 

192. Short dialogue: A: Good and evil undoubtedly cor- 
respond best to the sphere of the will, true and false to 
thought; that is where they are at home. But what about 
feeling? At the moment I do not see any attributes that 
corresponds to it in the same way. Perhaps the nearest 
would be genuine and sham, only they go with true and 
false; or friendly and unfriendly, which again, are related 
to good and evil. How curious it is. Feeling is the most 
difficult sphere of man's being to penetrate. 

B: That is perfectly tcue, simply because feeling is so 
inward, and in spite of its wealth, so inarticulate. It is the 
'mode' of the very heart of being itself. Willing and thinking 
are more distant, and are directed outward in the very 
manner of their activity: they always have an object. 
Feeling is, so to say, the first primary mode of being, of 
complete being as spirit. It refers to being itself, and to the 

1940 47 

condition of being. Everyone knows that immediately. 
Only the reflective philosopher could make a mistake and go 
astray as you seem to be doing, my friend. True enough, as 
you say, good and evil belong immediately to willing, and 
true and false to thinking therein you are undoubtedly 
right. And then, you maintain, feeling has no such 
immediate attributes, and by looking far afield you fail to 
find what is so near at hand, all too near, as it would seem. 
What then does being want to be, being in its highest 
manifestation, in the person, what does it want to be? It 
wants to be happy, and God, the source of all being is 
happy and blessed. 

Indeed, just as good and evil refer to willing, and true 
and false refer to thinking, so happiness and blessedness 
refer to feeling. 

193. A scandalised question: Does God let Hitler do his 
or His will? 

194. 30th April. There is one thing that has come to 
full maturity in me: the understanding that I do not 
understand God : the sense of the Mysterium. That prevents 
me from misunderstanding the things of this world. 

195. The darkest hour of faith: when every human 
standard and example fails one. Everything is nonsense. 

196. The one holds he is guilty of everything, another 
that he is not responsible for anything. Both are wrong, 
nevertheless the former is nearer the truth. 

197. 1st May. The right of what is established seems to 
be relatively simple. Seems, I say; at least that is how 
men behave, even though in truth it is far from simple. 
But it is not so easy to formulate the right to conquest 
and the right of the victor. There is disagreement upon 
the very first principals. Has every man who is alive 


the right to live by the mere fact that he is alive? Or is this 
right determined by his situation, or by his capacities, or 
his qualities? Do men and nations, in principle, exist for 
one another or are they against one another? Does the right 
of the stronger take priority over the right of the weaker? 
If the concept "stronger 9 were simple, and that of 'weak' 
too, then one might erect the proposition upon the basis of 
nature, where it seems to hold good, at least as far as appear- 
ances go. In actual fact, however, both concepts are so 
ambiguous, that it is possible to grant a certain meaning to 
paradoxes such as 'strength in weakness 5 and 'weakness in 
strength 3 . In this aeon there is an impulse to conquer, and 
from this it follows that there is also a right; but who can 
formulate it? It cannot be formulated, except prophetically. 
Of course, as long as a conquest happens peacefully, the 
right of conquest creates no difficulty; and where there is 
no wrong, there is naturally right. Only when, in addition, 
it involves war, do the problems arise, and man alone 
cannot answer them. The Jews were given the right by 
God to conquer Palestine and to wipe out nations or deprive 
them of their rights. We may take it that these peoples 
were degenerate, and had forfeited their right. The same 
might be assumed of the Inkas of Mexico, and even of 
Carthage, or the Abyssinians of today. But the proof does 
not always hold good. A great war is certainly always a 
sort of judgment of God. And the right of the victor resides 
in the fact that he puts through His will. That appears to 
be his purely formal and absolute 'right 5 , no matter whether 
his will is just or unjust. 

198. 2nd May. Kierkegaard's category 'the sudden' came 
to my mind all at once, today, in the garden. Quite sud- 
denly, like lightning, a big black bird (a blackbird) flew 
into the bush of brilliant white blossoms, at which I had been 
gazing for some minutes sunk in thought. And then, 
suddenly, my contemplation was disturbed, and my thoughts 

1940 49 

759. With practice a man can accustom himself not to 
deceive himself any more and to be honest with himself. 
He may even be able to bring it to the point at which he 
can deceive himself as little as he can deceive God. And 
then, certainly, no one can deceive him. 

200. Perhaps the Germans have made themselves into a 
sort of spiritual cul-de-sac as a result of their apostasy. So 
far and no farther! A blank wall in front of it a little music 
still flowers, a few nature lyrics, some family affection, and 
above all a perfectly functioning bureaucracy, hard work 
and worst of all military efficiency. 

201. Separated from the mood in which they are spoken 
and from the voice that speaks them, words often lose half 
their power and significance. Some poets, indeed, have the 
gift of bringing the mood to life again, but the voice, the 
lovely or the hideous voice, they cannot recapture. The 
historian of the future, however, will find in the gramophone 
record a source of primary importance for European history 
at the present time which formerly only the contemporary- 
historian possessed when he himself could hear the active 

202. Old people often say and write things which they 
look upon as wisdom and profound teaching, while others, 
not indeed always the hearers, but the readers, speak of 
commonplaces, banalities or even twaddle. Very often both 
are right in their way. The e words of wisdom 3 of old people 
may be banal in themselves, but they are wise because of 
the depths of feeling and memoria from which they spring, 
and because they themselves are wise. But they are easier 
to see or to hear than to read. 

203. It has always been recognised that the crown is 
an essential part of the Imperium. That has been understood 
in modern times by England, by Napoleon, by Wilhelm 



and by Mussolini. The gipsy seems not to know it. But 
perhaps it will occur to him later. He will design one for 
his own use, and as impossible as himself. 

204. Consider well that if we Christians were so wrong 
that our religion meant nothing real, and was nothing but 
invention, imagination, phantasy, nevertheless after two 
thousand years we ourselves would be a reality by reason 
of our intellectually complete system, through the power of 
our faith and the life in our saints, which made us into Gods. 

205. The proposal of a 'neutral aesthete': Why not let those 
thorough Germans build the motor roads in Europe, and 
organise the post and the railways and the fire brigades? 
We will look after art and the things of the mind! For of 
course we must remain neutral. 

206. The strongest and most immediate unity is created 
not by the same thought or the same will even, but by the 
same feeling (the same memoria), in and upon which thought 
and will rest, from which they spring and in which they 
leave their traces. 

207. The choice between falling into the hands of God 
and into the hands of men, costs me no agony of indecision. 
I wish to fall into the hands of God, however frightful it 
may be. That is how I have understood every serious 
sickness, full of thankfulness in suffering. What it means to 
fall into the hands of men, I tasted for just half a day on 
20th May 1933* 

208. Hilty maintains that a German world hegemony 
could only be justified upon the basis of the innate virtues 
of fidelity and purity (he appeals to Tacitus). Fidelity and 

*On this date Haecker was arrested by the Gestapo for the first time 
and interrogated about his article on the Hakenkreuz which was about to 
appear in the Brenner, a periodical published in Innsbruck. 

1940 51 

purity 1940! Fidelity? How in the world is fidelity possible 
after the apostasy from Christ except as a farce and a 
caricature, as a horrible sort of gangster fidelity full of 
nauseating romanticism. And parity? In a state proclaim- 
ing a naked stud morality in the place of marriage. 

209. c lf the Hottentots were to become Christians today, 
they would still not be able to build the German Cathedrals 5 , 
says Herr Rosenberg, and thinks it is an argument in favour 
of the racial doctrine and against Christianity. My God! 
There has not been such a depth of idiocy in the west in 
two thousand years. Indeed we are agreed, Herr Rosenberg: 
the Hottentots would not build any German Cathedrals, 
nor French ones for the matter of that certainly not. 
Not even the Letts could do that, Herr Rosenberg: but a 
Hottentot, and even a Lithuanian can become a saint and 
become blessed. 

210. 10th May. The invasion of Belgium and Holland: 
yesterday the Frankfurter ^eitung wrote that strategically an 
attack on Holland would be a mistake and nonsensical! 
Why did it write that? From conviction? Simply out of 
ignorance and stupidity. How can there be conviction in 
Germany, when it is a sea of lies and is lost. Was it said 
tactically? Strategically a mistake and nonsensical! Is there 
a single idiot in the whole of Europe who does not know 
that Germany wants the Dutch coast? And so why? 

211. In the wars of this world, man fights against man, 
not good angels against bad; even though it sometimes 
seems, and perhaps really is so, above and beside men. 
But the principal thing is : man fights against man, and as 
men they are roughly alike, but they may be very different 
where their mission is concerned, and as instruments. 

212. Not every war is a judgment of God. But one can, 
for example name the following: Greeks against Persians, 


Rome against Carthage, the West against the Huns and 
the Turks. And today, what are the Germans after their 
apostasy? Are they not ? 

213. Insults are thoroughly human because there are 
things which are human and insulting. Insults can only be 
misused because they can be rightly used. They are rightly 
used when language does not otherwise do justice to the 
thing, when the thing simply cannot be fully recognised 
without an insult. The Son of God, made man, used the 
most terrible insults of his time and people against the 

214. The man who strikes the balance of the virtues is by 
no means mediocre. The rifleman who hits the centre of 
the target is no mediocre shot. And when he hits the bulls 3 - 
eye doesn't he hit the middle of all the rings? 

215. The German Herrgott-religion must, nevertheless, 
distinguish itself from the religion of law of Jehova, for 
better or for worse. For worse, without a doubt: today 
the announcer with the dead German voice on Deutschland- 
sender (O what the Germans have sent us, what a mission!) 
made known the will of the German Herrgotfs elect. It is 
not : an eye for an eye, a bomb for a bomb, but : five bombs 
for one! 

Technical progress has made man's two weapons super- 
human and consequently inhuman: it has transformed the 
word into the press, and the sword into the cannon. The 
frightful thing is, that (without the direct intervention of 
God) this necessarily favours the wicked, who make un- 
scrupulous use of them. 

21 6. It can now be seen that it is precisely the claptrap, 
which seemed so harmless as such, that calls forth, supports 
and maintains crimes and horrors on an unprecedented 

1940 53 

217. Whit Sunday. 12th May. The fate and thus the task of 
the German Christian is without parallel in history to which 
he might cling, it is even without the remotest analogy 
which, on a different level indeed, might serve as a guiding 
thread. He is alone! Everything that he feels, thinks and 
does has a question mark to it, questioning whether it is 
right. The leadership of Germany today, and of this there 
is not the faintest doubt, and it cannot be evaded, is con- 
sciously anti-Christian it hates Christ whom it does not 
name. We are making war against peoples and States which 
although often only euphemistically Christian could not in 
any single instance be called definitely anti-Christian. And 
one cannot therefore avoid recognising the fact, that over 
and above being a war of power it is a war of religion. 
And we Germans are fighting this war on the wrong 
side! We are, as to the majority, making war as willing 
slaves, and as to the minority, as the unwilling slaves of a 
government that has apostatized, strong in the passion of its 
despair and in its despicable subjects, and all of us, the slaves 
of slaves without honour ruimus in servitutum (are rushing 
into slavery). From the very beginning, the repeatedly suc- 
cessful trick of these inhuman beings, sent to plague Europe, 
has been to combine, more or less, the special interests of 
their basely impulsive, greedy natures, intellectually speaking 
soulless and half-educated, with the true and genuine wishes 
and claims of the German people, combining them by an 
unprecedented skill in the art of lying. The climax of this 
hellish art has now been reached. Who does not love his 
country and his people by nature? There are innumerable 
people who love it more than their fathers or their mothers, 
their wives or their children, their brothers or their sisters, 
which is why it is always dangerous and almost a crime to 
over-excite this love. And who, then, will not instinctively 
wish his country to be victorious in a war? But: we Germans 
are on the side of apostasy. That is the German position. 
Today is Whitsunday, but my spirit is heavy, and the shadow 
of affliction is upon it. For I must live, whether the 


apostate is victorious or defeated, and with him no, 
that is not true: the German people will be beaten, but 
not struck down and wiped out. The one ray of light in my 
mind is this: it is better for a people to be defeated and 
to suffer, than to win and apostatize. But if it were to 
be victorious? I should not then give up my faith. I can 
always pray: Lord, help thou my unbelief! 

218. Almost everyone loves their country, and I have not 
the slightest regard for those who are proud of it, like our 
Fiihrer. But how many love God at all, not to speak of 
loving him with their whole heart and their whole soul? 
That is what makes it so easy for the seducers to lead a 
people into the sin of apostasy; to turn the phrase, my 
country right or wrong, which at least recognises the difference 
between good and evil, into the simple apostasy: 'what 
serves the nation is good and right'. 

219. If a satirist were to imagine that he had to carry on 
his work for centuries, endlessly, then he would be in hell. I 
am speaking, of course, of the satirist who is a real man. 
Karl Krauss once said to me: there must be an end; I 
think he wrote it somewhere. And he meant it in all 
seriousness. I think he did not wish for immortality in the 
Christian sense. Hence my fear of satire; though I was not 
without gifts for it and, what is more dangerous, enjoyed 
it and took pride in it. 

220. The uniqueness, the natural election of the Greeks, 
manifests itself among other things in the fact that in 
theoretical philosophy there will always be Platonists and 
Aristotelians, and in practical philosophy stoics and epi- 
cureans; for they incorporate attitudes of mind which exist 
and will exist at all times, among Christians as well. On the 
other hand, there will not always be Cartesians, or Kantians 
or Hegelians, or even Schopenhaurians, and Nietzscheans. 
They have had their day. 

1940 55 

22 L 13th May. God will give victory to those who best 
subserve his end, which is the Kingdom of God, now, but 
above all in the future. Who that is, only God knows 
beforehand, and those in whom he wishes to confide. Who 
knows, perhaps God will decide in favour of the empire 
which once again allows the martyr to stand out in his 
original, visible form. And that would not be the democ- 
racies. We know nothing. In the beginning of its existence 
the Church was set in an empire that created martyrs. 
Whether the German apostates are to take over this 
task once again, and assume all the consequences, we do 
not know. 

222. Rejoinder: We must learn to keep every eventuality 
in sight. To say, if this, that or the other happens, I should 
despair, is certainly not a Christian standpoint. No doubt, 
Kierkegaard knew perfectly well that it does not lie solely 
in the power of man's will not to despair, but in the grace 
of God. That is certainly true. Prayer then, is always the 
principal weapon. 

223. There were probably many believers in the 16th 
century who believed that the hope of the Church stood or 
fell with the fate of Spain. And perhaps many despaired 
when the Armada was defeated, and heretical England 
triumphed* That is not of course comparable with what is 
happening now, any more than Napoleon's victory would 
have been comparable with Hitler's victory. Those are not 
comparisons, one must work on a much larger scale. In 
antiquity the victory of the Greeks over the Persians, the 
victory of the Romans over the Carthaginians (the victory of 
the Romans over the Greeks is secondary, the main decision 
had already been reached), and in Christian times, the 
victory of the Christian west on the fields of Catalonia over 
the Mohammedans. No other analogy stands up to it. It 
is no longer a war within the religion of the West. It is a 
war against the religion of the West on one side, on the 


German namely, O, but do we know that so clearly? Is 
that, too, not known only to God? 

224. A 'general rejoicing 9 and a 'general sorrow 3 , by which 
is meant the joy and the sorrow of the 'nation 5 or of the 
'State 3 , can never satisfy more than the middle region of man's 
soul. It has heights and depths which are untouched by 
this feeling, unless it is sick and has fallen away from God. 

225. A friend of Scheler 3 s said to me: I have always 
thought you were unjust towards Scheler. It is true that he 
said that you had the art of saying things publicly to him 
which were meant only for him, and which he alone under- 
stood rightly. That is, of course, something I cannot judge. 
But I think that you sometimes come very near to impugning 
his bona fides as a thinker. I hope you will not question 
mine, if I explain the following to you. I always find 
your priests just about as stupid as possible, and using 
expressions and phrases that do not deceive my ear, when 
they announce that 'God permits evil 3 and what evil. I 
always regret that I cannot put these priests before a con- 
crete case, and study their faces. A child is slowly tortured 
by its parents and dies. And since God sees all things, 
does he not also see that he has permitted it, to use your 
terminus tecknicus, in order, perhaps, to achieve something 
good thereby, which would not have been possible pre- 
viously. What would a powerful man be (and, to you, God 
is allpowerful) who stood by and permitted it? A monster, 
don't you agree? And God is love! You and your religion 
have never been able to explain this and so many other 
frightful things for example the absolutely useless suffering 
of animals which according to you do not have immortal 
souls and are guiltless more humanely and divinely, more 
ethically and rationally, more soothingly to rebellious feel- 
ings than Scheler: namely that God permits such things 
because for the time being at any rate, he is still powerless. 
Can't you see that you are the slanderer of God, you who 

1940 57 

maintain that he allows a child to be martyred, lets millions 
of animals suffer, although he could prevent it; and not us, 
who say God cannot change things, because he is imprisoned 
in a divine process, which some day perhaps will attain its 
end in the omnipotence of the Good. 

226. It is not only in an objective sense that the voice 
which is Deutschlandsender is inhuman ; it is a mockery of the 
supernatural life and the trinitarian God. That is for the 
moment (18th May) the only reason why I think that God 
will not let this pest win; but his Will be done! I believe, 
I can no longer lose my faith, but: God, help thou my 

227. It may be that the monumental cowardice of some 
German Catholics and Protestants, trying to get rid of the 
inward pest by means of outward events, will lead, as a 
punishment, to hundredfold increase of this Pest, and what 
is more through outward events. Then it will be a case 
of mourir pour Dieu seul! 

228. The faces of our Generals and officers reproduced 
in the papers are all of a thoroughly uniform vitality, 
clean, and stigmatised so to say, not by passions but by 
thoroughness (Tiichtigkeit), often enough handsome in a 
disagreeable sort of way, and in an absolutely terrifying way, 
metaphysically empty. I have only to look at those photo- 
graphs to hear their voices, identical with the voice of the 
announcer of Germany's 'mission', and that is the only 
thing which makes me doubt their victory, for in fact they 
have the faces of conquerors. 

229. Qua soldier, the German soldier is the strongest and 
most frightful in the world because he does not need to 
know what he is fighting for, and in point of fact, under the 
Prussian hegemony, never has known. It does not occur 
to him to ask. He is simply hypnotised by his favourite 


calling, for which he has an immense talent. And even the 
most depraved creature can catch his imagination at this 
point, and lead the nation into the direst suffering with 
absolute certainty. But it doesn't matter. The German 
soldier will continue to function immeasurably better than 
his machines, themselves quite good enough. 

230. The paradoxical state of the world can be seen from 
the fact that scoundrel helps scoundrel more than the 
good, the good. 

231. 19th May. Today the voice of the automat pro- 
claiming the 'German Mission 5 announced one of the 
thoughts of its Lord and Master. The verve and the fighting 
spirit of the German soldier, as he overran Belgium and 
Holland can only be compared with the power of the 
Revolutionary armies that overran the whole of Europe and 
spread the ideas of the French Revolution. These ideas are 
antiquated; the future belongs to National Socialism. It is 
very strange what can be said in times such as these, and it 
seems as though it were a matter of complete indifference 
what was said, at least in respect of the truth. Let us see : 
the ideas of the French Revolution were liberty, equality, 
fraternity. These ideas were stolen from Christianity, and 
in some measure falsified and poisoned. But in themselves, 
they were ideas capable of arousing enthusiasm, and rightly 
so, understandably, for they are human. But now what are 
the ideas of national-socialism? Without any doubt, the 
exact opposite. Inequality in the place of equality, for the 
whole movement goes back to an Essay by Gobineau on the 
Inequality of Races. Unfreedom instead of liberty, for the 
Fuhrer decides everything, even in science and art and above 
all what comes first in man, in religion and faith. Not 
fraternity, but enmity, for there is one race, which is superior 
to all others, to whom it certainly cannot show fraternity, 
and there are even races, like the Jews and the Poles, which 
compared racially with the 'Arians 5 are sub-men^ certainly 

1940 59 

not brothers. These then are the ideas which we are 
bringing to the people of the world. And in their en- 
thusiasm they will hardly recognise themselves. Though to 
pretend that our soldiers are good soldiers where these 
ideas are concerned is a fantastic contention. 

232. Everything seems to be topsy-turvy: and it is harder 
to bear victories than defeats. But what is upside-down and 
who? That too is difficult to say. For if one attaches a 
disproportionate weight to external things, it robs them of 
weight and balance, and everything is topsy-turvy. 

233. Nations, it is said, are just big children. True, but 
they are also evil! And with leanings towards great crimes, 
which is why they so often follow great criminals. They are 
'naturally 5 stupid, and feel uncomfortable in the presence of 
great cleverness. Their favourites must indeed be shrewd, 
but at the same time stupid. 

234. Vergil, the friend of Augustus, the greatest Emperor 
of the Empire that is the model of all Empires; Vergil who 
was so often able to express his horror of war, would today 
be silenced in a concentration camp. That is one of the 
characteristics of this accursed Reich, which by its express 
apostasy from 'the Faith 5 , has fallen infinitely below an 
adventist paganism. 

235. Tantum die verbo say but the word said a Roman 
Captain to the Son of God made man. And now the 
Prussian Generals say it but to whom! Even the standard 
of military honour is contained in the standard of Christ. 

236. Victory and defeat are categories of human life in 
this aeon, and correspond to joy and sadness. But the 
victory of the good is not the same as the victory of evil, and 
the defeat of good is not the same as the defeat of evil. In 
the joy of the one lies perhaps the justice of God, and in 


the other case, the hatred of hell. In the sadness of the one 
there lies perhaps the peace of God, which is above all 
reason; and in the other the despair of hell. 

257. Does not the Gross of Christ stand threateningly 
before every Christian in this form: that in the end Christ 
was looked upon as the enemy of his people? This war is 
the end of all National Churches desiring to be Christian. 

238. The Catholic Church is very far from having recog- 
nised the treasures of knowledge (and above all the know- 
ledge of time in so far as it is related to the Kingdom of God), 
and still less has it assimilated all the knowledge that has been 
brought to light by men outside the Church, who loved 
Christ with their whole heart. Catholic theologians have 
behaved very poorly towards men like Blumhardt, Hilty 
and Kierkegaard. They cannot even see the pure gold 
shining through the dust of heresy they only see the dust. 
And that is a great pity! 

239. 22nd May. France has many saints, which is to say 
that it is a country of prayer, for only a country where 
many people pray produces many saints. At the present 
time there must be many praying in France. But perhaps 
it is laid down that they will not be heard for the present! 
The Church knows that in most cases public prayers are 
not heard, but she seldom ventures to say so. 

240. How peace is to come, in any sense resembling the 
pax romana, I do not know. To me, that is utterly obscure. 
The most probable thing, it seems to me, is a state of ex- 
haustion. But no peace! 

Culturally a frightful desert. Everywhere. Most of all 
in Germany. Southern Germany and Catholic Germany is 
prussianised, irretrievably perhaps, and so destroyed. In 
Italy, Fascism is a roller that levels everything flat. Will 
England and France follow? America is unfortunately, as it 

1940 61 

seems to me, too young a country. But I may be mistaken. 
Ultimately that is a matter of indifference ; for the decision 
does not lie there. Perhaps there will be none, none at all. 
Lord, help thou my unbelief! 

241. 23rd May. The unalterable law of 'the world 9 is 
that evil is fought with evil, and that the devil is driven out 
by Beelzebub. And so long as that remains unaltered, 
Christianity is not victorious. 

242. It is often said that the mark of the German is his 
refusal to compromise. But up till now I have asked in 
vain for examples. What about religion? There is no such 
thing as German atheism in the uncompromising form in 
which it exists in latin countries. The Germans still have a 
sentimental divinity of woodland and stream, a lyrical, 
rutting divinity. In the same way there is no such thing 
as frank materialism in German philosophy it is all 
second-hand though there has always been a halfway- 
house philosophy, a 'biological' philosophy, a Lebensphilosophie. 
In the Christian life the religious Orders have always been 
uncompromising. Yet not one of the great religious Orders 
was founded in Germany, not to speak of the really strict 
ones. It is something quite different, I think, which has led 
to this undoubtedly false assertion. It resides in the main 
in an inebriated sense of the vast, and this prevents thought, 
hinders right thinking based upon a natural and super- 
natural sense of measure and proportion, given to us by the 
philosophy of Aristotle and Plato and in the supernatural 
by the Church. Hence the fiasco of German mysticism in 
Eckhardt. And on a different plane, in the field of political 
struggles, the reason why these struggles are so poisonous 
and violent is not because there is purity in this will to 
realise an idea recognised as true, without compromise, but 
because there is an incapacity, clouded by feeling, to see 
or to hear the right on the other side. It is very often 
stupidity, and nothing more. 


243. Are the Germans not lacking in two great and related 
yet not identical qualities, and is this not the reason why 
their history is wanting in the very deepest colours? Gfa- 
erosite and magnanimitas! For the first we have no German 
word at all, it is a specifically French thing. For the second 
we have a resounding word; grossherzig, large-hearted. But 
it is more a matter of German longing than of a German 
reality. The German is not gtnereux, or at least very seldom; 
and then it is a miracle. That is why there are no great 
lovers in our literature and history for generosite is the gate 
to great love, to natural as indeed to supernatural love! 
With us it exists neither in reality nor in poetry. The only 
exception might be Goethe, and he is a great European 
rather than a great German. We have not got the great 
lovers that all other European nations have, though they 
make our hearts beat faster. Nor have we the great saints; 
there were no saints at the Reformation, such as Thomas 
More and Fisher; and they were both genereux. Magnani- 
mitas is a political virtue: Augustus is its great representative 
figure, and Vergil its incomparable poet. I think that some 
of our Mediaeval Emperors shared in this virtue; and later 
the Habsburgs knew it. The powerful Prussians, and 
what comes from them today, are all 'small-minded 5 , the 
opposite of large-hearted. And France dishonoured herself 
in Versailles because it was small-minded, and is at this 
moment doing penance for it, though probably only Tor 
a time'. 

244. It is not every man who can be the 'scourge of God 3 . 
Even Attila had to be chosen. The vanity of mankind is 
mysterious and indestructible. The "scourge of God 3 is 
proud of it, not so much of being 'the scourge of God 3 as of 
the title. 

245. Behind the frightful grimace of this world, there are 
so many unhappy men. And now that you are old, you 
should never forget that! 

1940 63 

246. The Tower of Babel is always being built, and after 
its destruction those who were building it will always say, 
to the end of the world : 'We only missed by a hair's breadth. 
It was only a very minor mistake, otherwise we should have 
been successful' or: c lt was sabotaged, the Christian 
poison . . . .' 

247. The little whore called history in Germany today, 
for sale to the feeblest individual, exploited by those without 
honour who support the ruling clique, is not 'history'. 
Although one might at a pinch, say that history was c made' 
in Germany today, history is no longer 'written* in Germany. 
That will happen elsewhere, or if it happens in Germany, 
then it will be written by others. 

248. Ever since men ceased to believe in eternal life, we 
have had history in the place of the Judgment, history 
which is not finished but flowing on, and which, if there is 
no Judgment, will flow on for ever, into nothingness or the 
Eternal Return of all things history, then, is the last court 
of appeal. And the paradox is that history is suddenly to 
be truth itself, justice itself, honesty itself! But history is 
written by men, who either speak the truth, or lie, are just 
or unjust. That is why history, humanly speaking and 
without the guidance of God, is a very questionable matter. 
The Gospel narrates the betrayal by Judas and the denial 
by Peter with absolute objectivity. That is something quite 
impossible in a purely human Party. Present day history, 
an episode let us hope, certainly lies more than was ever 
the case before. If God did not have other ways and pos- 
sibilities, despair nowadays would be an understandable 
way out, assuming always that man was concerned about 
the truth. The most painful experience of those who seek 
the truth is : that to the majority of men, the truth is just 
about the most indifferent thing of all. Yet that is not quite 
right. They do, in a way, desire the truth, but they are 
afraid of the effort it requires. And so they believe the lies 


that are told them, not as lies but as the truth. That is 

249. A propos the 'uncompromisingness' of the German. 
I do not believe in it. Not at least in any failure to com- 
promise where the development of a clear idea is concerned. 
"Clear 5 is the operative word. That is where my principal 
objection arises. Uncompromising and clarity are related, 
and that is what the German mind lacks, except in the 
relatively low sphere of technical matters. Though even 
now, everything is not quite clear. What characterises the 
German, what he has in a pre-eminent degree is : Eigensinn, 
self- will, obstinacy. The history of the Reformation is only 
too full of it. And Michael Kohlhaas is a purely German 
figure. And his creator!* Self-will is the absolute enemy of 
love, and above all of the love of God. Self-will and sanctity 
are utterly incompatible. 

250. 26th May. If I were to die today (and since the 
14th March"]* I no longer fear death as such, on the contrary, 
how welcome it would be!), were I to die today, replete 
with sadness and melancholy, like all those of this world who 
are mellow and ripe with years, seeing only darkness ahead, 
the return of the dark ages in fact I should not die in 
despair. It seems as though nothing could now rob me of 
faith. May it remain so! O God, may it remain so! If I 
were to die today, in complete disagreement with the ruling 
spirit of the people to whom I belong, I should not die in 
despair, and might not that be a temoignage? For today 
one may surely be sad, may one not? Is that not so? 
Difficulties I may have, and live under a cloud, but I also 
have an infallible method: when the difficulties become too 
great I throw myself upon God who is inconceivable. The 
inconceivableness of God hides me. Not it alone, of course, 

* A story by Heinrich von Kleist the motto of which might be fat 
justitia pereat mundus. 

t The day of Haecker's arrest. 

1940 65 

but God's grace. It bears me up upon the abyss. I should 
not die in despair. More I will not say, for I would not lie. 
And I also see the hour when I shall no longer be able to lie. 

251. When I am told that the German youth of today, the 
official youth, know nothing of two thousand five hundred 
years of Christian and adventist history, know nothing of it, 
do not wish to know anything of it and cannot be moved 
by it, I know it is true and I am sad. But when I am told 
that there is none among them who in his inmost being 
is moved by it, then I feel cheerful once again, for I do 
not believe it, and it is not true. They exist, and they 
are the aristocracy of the youth of this country. They will 
live under a cloud, as I do. But they will stand in the glory 
of an eternal light, as I shall do. And they will know it, 
as I too do. 

252. I never cease to wonder at our capacity to wonder; 
My wonder is inexhaustible for wonder. Why do we feel a 
sense of wonder? Does it not presuppose that the mind which 
marvels is in a sense a stranger to the 'being' in the presence 
of which it marvels? A perfectly normal man may fall to 
wonder at things which are strange and unusual to him; but 
he does not wonder at everyday things and the customary 
things with which he has grown up. Philosophy begins with 
wonder at the usual, everyday thing, but does that not imply 
a gulf between 'being* at which I wonder and me, who am 
in wonder? Me! Who and what am I? Do I not belong to 
'being'? So that what is it that makes me wonder, ulti- 
mately, if not I myself? Who is it then, that wonders. And 
one's thought is engulfed in a sense of giddiness. Is it being 
that wonders at being? Does God, in fact, wonder? And 
these are but the reflections of the impotence of our under- 
standing, in face of the inconceivability of being. 

253. Rejoinder. One can never tire of wonder O, yes, 

I do, when I receive no answer. 


254. Pain sometimes pulls a man together, so that he 
should not dissolve in pleasure; for just as in the end 
pleasure is a solvent, pain draws one together. And looking 
round one often finds that the naturally pleasure loving 
individuals are exposed to the severest physical pain. There 
must be a certain natural compensation at work here. 

255. Rejoinder: Whatever makes you complain that Justice 
is wanting in this world? Is it not perfectly just that, when 
it has dominated long enough one nation's lie should be 
exchanged against another nation's lie? And so it goes on. 
That is e jusf, and the world needs nothing more. 

256. After the war certainly, perhaps even during the war, 
the social Revolution which is moving towards the complete 
extinction of the bourgeois order, will no doubt keep 
nationalism down to some extent. In any case, it had passed 
its zenith with the German madness of a natural, racial 
Elect. Even were Germany to be temporarily victorious, 
it would relinquish the principle of nationalism still further 
in favour of the Imperial principle. 

257. 29th May. In the heart of which nation has God 
placed the mysterious, hidden certainty and expectation of 
victory? I do not know. And yet this is the nation which 
will be victorious, so that it does not matter what it may 
portend in other respects. 

255. Ultimately it is the Kingdom of God which is at 
stake, and the war is about the Taith'. And to which 
people, factually, will the commands of the Trinitarian God 
be given? It will receive the leadership of mankind from 
God, quite regardless of what race it belongs to. 

259. 31st May. It is because the ultimate and the highest 
cause of this war is the hatred of Christ and the Kingdom 
of God, that Mussolini's f policy is so disgusting and 

1940 67 

despicable. Simply for the sake of his romantic Imperium 
he supports the Reich of Antichrist. Mussolini, it is said, 
will attack today or tomorrow. His European name is 

260. Who takes the sword shall perish by the sword. 
Every Reich will perish by the weapons with which it was 
founded and sustained. The weapons of Christ's Kingdom 
were, in the beginning, and must remain: faith, hope and 
love. Go to it, then, all of you who wish to conquer 
the Kingdom of Christ, and you are many today, go 
to it: with the weapons of faith, of hope and of love: the 
Kingdom of Christ will lie at your feet. You will have 

261. Nowadays, can anyone in Germany who is not a babe 
at the breast express his immediate feelings directly? Are 
they not immediately snuffed out at their very birth by that 
frightful apparatus called Propaganda? Are they not 
deformed, or better still twisted out of the true with lies 
into a National feeling', an artificial product, claptrap! 
What inhuman results are bound to follow! 

262. If this war is just a war between 'Plutocrats' and 
'Have-nots', between Capitalists and Socialists for the goods 
of this world, or their division, then in an insane way it is 
laughable, and of course criminal, to heap up mountains 
of corpses for such a matter. But I do not believe it. Wars 
like this are fought for higher things. 

263. The man who explicitly does not believe and does not 
will to believe (for the will to believe belongs to believing) 
in an eternal life, that is to say in a personal life after death, 
will become an animal, an animal being which among other 
things, man is. Man is 'planned as spirit', as Kierkegaard 
puts it, but that includes the immortality of the soul. Who- 
ever relinquishes that also gives up the spirit of man. 


264. Those who give up all spirituality and consequently 
life after death, can only regard marriage as a stud. And 
that is what the German state does officially, without any 
shame whatsoever. And they think the hegemony of the 
West will fall to them? But, my friends, then it would 
simply not be the West any more! 

265. One is constantly allowing oneself to be impressed 
by German thoroughness and their superficial decency, 
forgetting the German Herrgott-religion that lies behind it, 
that is certainly an abomination to God! I martyrise a 
whole people and then call heaven to witness, and shout 
on the wireless, when a couple of my people are oppressed 
(perhaps! it may of course be a lie), and I believe in my 
right to do both (the average German does). Has the like 
ever happened before? I don't believe it. It is an appalling 
degeneration, or is it perhaps c our norm 5 ? Then let each one 
of us do penance! Mea culpa! 

266. That things first of all sound right, and that dis- 
sonance comes afterwards is the first principle of my 
philosophy. And so : Good comes before evil, Truth before 
the lie, and the beautiful before the ugly. That is my whole 

267. 'Terror 5 is the discovery of fallen spirits. It is a 
spiritual weapon of the soul aimed by evil against good and 
evil, a weapon which is not, consequently, like material 
arms, indifferent in itself, but which is evil in itself. It 
may not be used by good men, it cannot be used by them, 
because it makes them themselves evil. Terror is the dis- 
covery of anarchical spirits. It is the weapon of anarchists, 
using this word as the opposite of those who believe in hier- 
archy. For those are the two poles : Anarchy against hier- 
archy. The kingdom of antichrist is essentially anarchical. 

The 'organisation' of Anarchy and Terror is sometimes 
deceptive. At the present time, in Europe, Terror is 

1940 69 

organised by the 'Germans'. (It is difficult nowadays to 
speak of Germans and not of the 'Germans'). The gift of 
organisation is to a certain extent 'natural' to the German : 
it must be related to their vocation (betrayed) for dominion 
and for the Reich. It is really the German organisation of 
Terror which makes it so frightful. 

268. Tear ye not'. Almost all the messages of the angel 
of God to man begin with these words; and today they 
have acquired a special significance. 'Abyss calls to abyss', 
the hellish abyss of organised terror awakes in us a sense of 
the heavenly terror, of the divine 'fearlessness 5 . We live in 
the night of faith, and it is our only light. To him that is, 
whom God has led so far that he grasps it in prayer and peace, 
which is above all reason. 

269. Everything has its time, but in the same time; that is 
much more difficult to grasp or even to perceive in general, 
than that everything has its place, though in one space, for 
that is only a weak analogy of the first, a flat, one-dimen- 
sional analogy of the depths of the individual rhythm of 
time within 'contemporaneity'. Every musical time has its 
time, but within the time of the rhythm and the melody: 
another feeble image. 

270. 1 /2nd June. Newman's theory respecting the strange 
coincidence of natural events at particular moments, as signs 
of divine providence, came to mind as I read that the 
weather was misty. That is how the Cardinal, were he 
still living, might have understood it: an angel smoothed 
the channel which is normally rough at this time of year, 
and spread the darkness of mist and fog over the sea at the 
same time. And so ten thousand were saved. 

271. To the German Herrgott-religion: Your Priests are 
lyrical, emotional, or technical in their activity rather than 
theological. From time to time one must explain their Credo 


to oneself. The German Hengott-religion does not promise 
eternal life or the resurrection of the body. That much is 
certain. It appears however to promise the eternal con- 
tinuance of the German people. And that of course, is pure 
nonsense. This planet had a beginning, and it will also 
cease to be. It is really astonishing that the Germans, so 
proud of their science, should swallow such nonsense. I 
can believe something, the ultimate sense of which is con- 
cealed from me. And as a Christian, I do so. But I cannot 
believe something that has no meaning at all. The German 
Hengott-religion proclaims that whatever serves the people 
is right (law). This proclamation is affirmed in countless 
speeches and written works. It is not, of course, so meaning- 
less, new and original as the first proposition. It is quite in 
line and consonant with the Human, the All-too-Human. 
What is new is the radical way in which this self-evidently 
false axiom is put into practice, the undiluted shamelessness 
and the boundless hypocrisy. In all other cases, nations are 
either shameless or hypocritical. The combination of the two 
was not to be foreseen, but it has been achieved. In his own 
sphere the German Herrgott is not illogical. For example in 
the teaching on marriage and sexual morality which he 
imposes upon his believers. This, too has been made per- 
fectly clear by its preachers, both in public and secretly, 
as clearly as the conception of law. The best one can say 
for it is that it reduces man to an animal, it is a stud-farm 
morality. The soul of a spiritual man, it consumes with 
disgust. It remains to be seen if there are any spiritually 
minded men among the Germans. The Catholic Church will 
have to watch out that the fruitfulness which its teaching on 
marriage inculcates, is not confused with the animal fertility 
of the German Herrgott. They mix like fire and water. 

272. It is quite conceivable (a subject for comedy) that a 
man who alone, among many, correctly foretold a disaster, 
in which he himself is involved, should get pleasure from his 
suffering because he was right, because he knew it. It is 

1940 71 

curious how universal man's will to be right is, to have been 
right. How does it arise? Perhaps it implies that he 
values knowledge, simply as knowledge, a fact which does not 
otherwise come to light among men. 

273. The Germans will not, like the Greeks and Romans, 
write their own history. The Germans have made it im- 
possible for themselves to write that history. Since the 
Reformation, and still more so since the apostasy, they can 
only write party histories, necessarily full of lies. I have 
always said that Prussia is a provincial thing, even though it 
develops for a moment as it does now, into a monster. And 
being provincial, Prussia does not write its own history itself. 

274. Le mieux est Vennemi du bien 'The better is the enemy 
of the good', is a sentence concealing great suffering and 
very many difficulties. This epigrammatic, this almost sad 
expression of the objective situation, and of the fact that 
there exists at the same time a good and a better between 
which a man is free to choose, may easily lead to confusion 
and to misunderstanding. The better is not, in itself, and 
in the sphere of pure being, the 'enemy' of the good (they 
are ordered hierarchically, peacefully, compatibly, one 
beside the other), but only in the transposed and com- 
parative language, which is the language of the will and its 
struggles, where man can rise from 'the good 3 to 'the better 3 . 
There are many to whom this represents the very essence of 
tragedy, indeed of 'Christian' tragedy; but that is only a 
confusion of terms. The young man who did not follow 
Christ's invitation to seek the 'better' in the place of 'the 
good' is not a tragic figure. The mystery goes deeper, and 
lies beyond the conception of 'guilt' which belongs to 
tragedy, lies in the sphere of 'love 3 itself and its unfathom- 
ableness, in the growing sacrifices through which it descends 
into itself. God would have been c good' even though the 
Eternal Son had not become man, God would have been 
'good' even though the Eternal Son made man had not been 


sacrificed on the Cross. And the man who discovers that the 
better is the enemy of the good is on the track of this divine 
love and not of tragedy. 

275. German idealism, in Kant and Fichte, is a Prussian 
affair. Schelling belongs elsewhere; he was a spontaneously 
speculative mind and a gnostic. Hegel too was originally 
a great speculative mind, but as happened again and again 
with so many south German minds, he became infected with 
Prussianism and was corrupted. Prussian idealism took the 
heart of flesh and blood from the German and in its place 
gave him one of iron and paper. The German heart is now 
a material all of its own, of paper and iron, claptrap and 
act. That is really the 'inhuman 3 quality of the German 
as a Prussian product. 

276. The association of duty and claptrap is what really 
dehumanises man. It is a characteristic Prussian-German 
discovery. It is twofold in its consequence: a man does his 
duty for the sake of claptrap, or: his duty is no more than 
claptrap. Both things happen today. But there is still some 
sound sense in the world and it will defend itself with both 
hands against this inhuman conception. Even Frederick 
IPs words about being the servant of the state was a mere 
claptrap. He was much more honest when he admitted 
that he fell upon Silesia out of vanity and longing for fame. 
As far as Prussia is concerned, it is enough to make the 
very concept of duty hated, to make people forget its truth 
and its justification. 

277. Dictatorships are always a 'feverish* condition. We 
know from the life of the individual how long a fever can 
last* The same thing is true of the moral life of a people. 
It is not the norm. 

278. My impression is strengthened as time goes on, that 
the Germans and the Jews have something in common 

1940 73 

which is not found elsewhere among European peoples. 
Only a German Christian can cut himself off from the 
immediate destiny and the immediate history of his people, 
as the Jewish Christian has always done, from the beginning 
down to the present day, without cutting himself off from 
it spiritually and in respect of the history of our salvation 
on the contrary : the importance of this cannot be exagger- 
ated. But it is hardly noticed. Even on the natural plane 
there is an analogy to this fact. It is only among Germans 
that so many thinkers of distinction, on the purely natural 
plane and that is to say without the Christian love of the 
true Christian have taken up an attitude violently antag- 
onistic to their own people, beginning and how signifi- 
cant that is with Luther, and continuing with Holderlin, 
Schopenhauer, Nietzsche. 

275. This war confirms my thesis that quantity creates a 
kind of quality. Twenty thousand tanks are not merely 
arithmetically more than two thousand tanks, they are 
something other, and they act as a quality. It is as a result 
of this quality that the Germans are at present winning. 
Only one ought to recollect that no other quality is so easy 
to imitate as this one, even in its effects. It is the lowest 
form of quality, somewhere between quantity and quality. 

280. It looks as though victor and vanquished were alike 
intoxicated with the thought that this is the greatest battle in 
the history of the world. Never was the primacy of quantity 
in this technical age more clearly demonstrated ad oculos, nor 
indeed the meaning of vanitas vanitatum more clearly shown. 

281. The hour of evil is the hour in which the devil does 
greater 'miracles' than God. 

282. A curse on every wish that blurs the sight, paralyses 
the tongue, cramps the hand and prevents the truth being 
seen, said and written. 


283. Apart from e the faith 9 the only choice is between the 
'inadequate 3 and the 'absurd 5 . Bourgeois Europe chose the 
'inadequate' ; and was followed in this choice by the Fascists. 
Individual geniuses prefer some "absurd 3 or other, usually 
gnostic in origin or nature, like Schelling and Scheler, or 
of a private nature, like Nietzsche (the Eternal Recurrence) 
or Rilke (Weltinnenraum) . The faces of those who chose 
the inadequate as a religion are, so to say, one-dimensional. 
They themselves talk of health and harmony. One cannot 
deny .that at the moment a tremendous effort is being made 
with the help of the religion of the inadequate, the religion 
of 'this world 3 , to master the life of man and to lead it. 
Ultimately the attempt is a battle against God, and the most 
terrible decision He could make would be for the attempt 
to be allowed to succeed that would be the end of Europe. 

284. 14th June. Entry into Paris. If the Germans were 
real pagans they would surely feel something like fear of 
the envy of the Gods. But they are worshippers of the 
'inadequate 3 and find it perfectly in order. Or am I mis- 
taken? Has God not yet deserted us? 

285. 'To say what is 3 is difficult indeed when being is 
transitory. And what being is not except the being of God, 
that we do not know? The most lasting, the truest, and the 
nearest expression of reality is ultimately: everything is 
transitory and its variations. 

286. I entertain no doubt that the religion of the most 
primitive peoples is of a depth unplumbed by comparison 
with the German Herrgott-religion, which has never been 
equalled for blasphemous shallowness and simple brutish- 
ness. Behind every primitive religion there is always some- 
thing, a fullness that has not been plumbed, through which 
man has not seen. Behind the German Herrgott-religion there 
is vacuity, emptiness and nothing else, the same unending 
nothing which was, moreover, at the back of German 

1940 75 

idealism, only that its facade made a finer impression. And 
of course the German Herrgott-religion has its own voice, the 
voice of the announcer of the 'German mission' the 

287. It is always a good thing to meditate from time to 
time on the commandments, general and particular, of the 
Herrgott-religion. Thus: Whatever is useful to the German 
people is Right; cannons rather than butter; the individual 
is nothing, the people everything; there is one race, of which 
the German people is the mind and the heart, a race that 
has created out of itself everything that is great and good 
in the world. That is the gospel which the heavily armed 
missionaries of the German Herrgott-religion have to bring 
to all the peoples of the world. 

288. Nothing is so successful, visible, direct, quantitively 
calculable, and consequently capable of being foretold, as 
technical progress, the daughter of mathematical science. 
'Success' is the accompaniment of technique. The nation 
which devotes itself to technical progress is successful. 
Probably, or even certainly, it can only be bought at the 
cost of the loss of one's soul. Man is quodammodo omnia (in 
a sense all things) and so too a machine. Theoretically and 
philosophically Fhomme machine is a French discovery, but 
it has been realised in practice to the furthest limits of 
possibility by Prussian Man who was victorious over the 

289. 'Success*, in so far as it can be calculated, included 
in one's reckoning, and is therefore a 'gain 3 which has been 
earned, is the exact contrary of God's blessing, which is, in 
an absolute sense, gratis. No worldly, or demoniacal copy 
is possible, or can ever hope to replace it. A blessing is 
visible, even naturally, but it appears as it were visibly out 
of the invisible, whereas success is the result of something 
visible. While success is explained away in the reckoning, 


a blessing is always a mystery. Success is part of nature, it 
is almost the product of nature, prepared and arranged 
by man as technique. A Blessing is divine. The least 
successful of men and peoples may be blessed by God, and 
the most clamorous success may be a curse. And the 
confusion of these two things and concepts has today 
produced the most terrible confusion of mind. The 'pro- 
phetic 5 voice of the Church is dumb, as though her prophetic 
office were suspended. Does that too belong to the hour of 
evil? And every individual man is left to fumble his way 
through the night. Success is not simply a blessing, nor is 
failure simply a curse. Nor is the reverse true, as Christians 
have often thought. 

290. If Christ did not rise from the dead, then Christians, 
in the words of St. Paul, are fools. That is the brutal 
formulation given by the Jew, who cannot imagine happiness 
without relation to the body. And with that he is probably 
nearer the reality of being than the idealistic European, 
who as a Christian would naturally also regard himself as 
lost and deceived if Christ did not rise again from the dead. 
Yet he would no doubt express himself differently from the 
fleshly Jew: If Christ did not rise from the dead, then God 
does not exist then Christ is God, and we too are Gods, 
and better than all those who have been held as such 
to that extent we are not deceived, for what is the pleasure 
of seventy years compared with our idea? Or again, he 
might say : even though God were still to exist, he neverthe- 
less treated Christ shamefully, and so Christ is greater. But 
how despairing it all sounds, tie Jew as well as the Greek 
if Christ did not rise again. Et resurrexit! 

29L The German Herrgott-religion is a 'Weltanschauung' 
this side of every true religion, and of every true metaphysic. 
In this it is nearest of all to Islam, although Moham- 
medanism had a primitive belief in immortality. The Ger- 
man Herrgott-religion is also a child of German idealism, 

1940 77 

which in its turn was an offspring of the German heresy. 
In Kant it immediately reached a high point, and continued 
with Fichte, Hegel and their lesser followers. Schelling, a 
gnostic, and Schopenhauer, a disciple of Indian thought, 
were both metaphysicians. But they are both without 
influence on the Herrgott-religion. As a substitute for the 
first principle of religion (which is the love of God) it has a 
conception of honour run mad, and as a substitute for true 
metaphysics, the first principle of which is Being and the 
primacy of the spirit, it has an infantile mystical conception, 
Blut und Boden, blood and soil. 

292. 23rd June. The soul of the man who only has ears 
for the noise of these times will soon be miserably impover- 
ished. He will soon be found to be deaf to all reasonable 

293. Rejoinder: The men of today, my friend, feel the 
need of salvation far less than the man of two thousand years 
ago. They even find life in hell quite bearable, because 
they do not see that it is hell, do not feel the need of salvation. 
How should they feel any need for salvation? Who still 
thirsts after justice? They drink injustice like water, they 
even taste it like good wine. Who still hungers after truth? 
Lies are their daily bread, and they cannot live without it. 
And as with truth and justice, so with purity and love. 
And then: they only believe in this life, they do not 
believe in the immortality of the soul. And in the last 
extremity salvation is immediately to hand: death, freely 
chosen death, or as it used to be called, self-slaughter. 
The age, my friend, is not propitious for a religion of 

294. To taste the happiness of an hour, and the hour itself, 
as time, as duration in the past, is a thing of age, and not 
for youth, unless it is that a man is predestined to an early 


295. When a man perceives that the person he is talking 
to simply cannot see the things about which he is talking, 
then he should stop talking. 

296. Man's power is great. Wherever he goes, he alters 
the face of the earth. He cannot certainly put out a star, 
or set another alight. But I am careful in denying the 
possibility that some day cosmic forces may be used. There 
is a great deal to be awaited from that quarter. 

297. Two thousand years of Christianity ought finally to 
have inculcated the lesson that power, of whatever kind, 
is not the means by which to make a man a Christian. It 
is contrary to the will of God, though he may at times wish 
a man to seize the kingdom of God by power. In the first 
instance violence is done to man's freedom; in the second, 
a man exalts and magnifies his own freedom. And freedom 
is what is in the balance! It is in the mode of freedom that 
God created man, and how much more so the Christian, 
the homo spiritualis. How gently God, the all-powerful, handles 
the free will of his saints! Until he has led them to an 
inexplicable union with Him. And he can only lead them 
once they have given him their will. God desires the 
Will of man. 

298. The richer Bemg is, the more images it requires for 
its description and the more inadequate every particular 
image is. The art of rightly using images is indeed rare. 
Some writers are all too logical and rationalistic, the 
image is drawn down to the last detail, as though an image 
(of speech) had to coincide in every detail with the thing it 
purposes to represent. A great error in the language of 
imagery, for often just a couple of strokes, one or two 
colours of the appropriate image are enough, and express 
the whole genius of an image. Others, inferior writers, are 
just bunglers producing a daub: a donkey serves not only 
as the image for a horse but for a lion. 

1940 79 

299. The command to love: thou shalt love God with 
thy whole heart .... creates such great difficulties for the 
philosopher of this world that there are many who hold it 
to be nonsensical. Love cannot be commanded, compelled, 
they say, and of course they are right. If anything must 
come Trom the heart 5 , must be free and without cause, so 
to speak, it is love. It is driven away rather than enticed by 
a command. But the obligation of the first and principal 
commandment is above all else an objective command, at 
least in the first place; it demonstrates the divine order, it 
asserts : the right and true relation of man to God is love, 
and indeed love from the whole heart, with the whole mind, 
with all one's strength. And in fact an obligation may be 
understood in several ways. On the basis of this eternal 
order and of this eternal being as it should be, the individual 
man can do a great deal subjectively without doing the 
impossible, or doing under compulsion what can only be 
done freely: loving. The commandment does not say: 
thou shalt love under compulsion, which is impossible in 
the sense that one can work under compulsion; the com- 
mandment is that thou shalt love. That is perfectly in order, 
it is an order which can only be overturned because it is 
based upon freedom. It is certainly to be observed that if 
love without freedom is neither possible nor real, neither is 
freedom possible or real without love. The love of God is a 
spark in the heart of man, a natural disposition, something 
in fact which he does not make himself. c To have to' do 
something always implies that the will is directed either 
towards c willing* or towards willing something in par- 
ticular. In the sphere of freedom, in which love belongs, 
e to have to' means that I mast make room for freedom, 
'prepare the way'. Love itself comes freely, like grace, to 
which it belongs. 

300. Am deutschen Wesen soil die Welt genesen The world 
shall profit from the Germans and it is not said for the sake 
of the rhyme, it is said in all seriousness, it is really meant. 


In any case the contrary, so much more probable, also 
rhymes: am deutschen Wesen soil die Welt verwesen they will 
corrupt the world. Solus ex Germanis, that is what is meant. 
Not salus ex Judaeis. The history of the world, or rather 
sacred history, is to be overturned. I am horrified when I 
see and hear to what an extent people underestimate this 
apostasy. Their attitude to the Christian religion is not 
simply machiavellian, or napoleonic, or fascist, a purely 
political attitude, bent upon bringing Christianity under 
their dominion; no, they mean to destroy and supplant it. 
Salus ex Germanis: A German saviour and bearer of light 
is to replace Christ. What a good thing he has been photo- 
graphed so often and that his voice has been recorded. They 
will bring a moral, a religious, and what is more a material 
misery upon the world that we can only imagine with 
difficulty, that only the apocalyptic author on Patmos and 
here and there one of God's saints has seen in the spirit; 
all that will be fulfilled, if God wishes to wait. How dark 
everything is before our eyes. 

301. It is not easy to take the principles of Christianity 
and to deduce how a Christian should behave in a concrete 
case in order to be, without any doubt, a Christian. For 
Christianity is not a philosophical problem composed of 
lifeless, abstract principles. It is, on the contrary, of its very 
principles that every individual can always be under the 
living providence of the living God in every particular case 
and then there is nothing to deduce, for God is freedom. 
Nevertheless, it is easier (since deduction is in any case 
easier than induction), than to argue from the life and acts 
of, say, our present governors, to their faith. What sort of 
a faith can these men have? Perhaps one can get behind it 
by adopting the via negaiionis. They cannot believe in an 
eternal life, for then they would have to believe in an 
eternal judgment. Their lives and acts, however, show 
clearly that they do not do so. Or else they act thus and 
coerce their real inner belief; that may of course be so. 

1940 81 

All that I can and wish to say is that their public life and 
acts presuppose a belief which would lead a man who thinks, 
and who recognises the demands of logic in the right place, 
into a lunatic asylum or into some agonising intellectual 
inferno. Their belief is wholly limited to this world, and with 
this belief they believe they will prosper, that with it one is 
the strongest and can command all others, and that to this 
end everything is allowed except the breaking of a certain 
arbitrary, chance code of honour, changing according to 
circumstances, and with the exception of a few generalities, 
applicable to every warlike people: a romantic, barbaric 
form of infantilism. The metaphysical kernel of their belief 
in this world, as a substitute for religion, contains the 
following absurdity: the eternity of the German nation in 
a world which is not itself eternal. If we believe that, then 
we shall exactly fulfil what the German Herrgott demands 
of us. That is the belief which is offered to the German 
people as a substitute for Christianity. Those who do not 
confess this belief are, at the very least, unworthy of taking 
part in public life. Our pre-Christian forefathers did not of 
course believe in any such nonsense. And that is only made 
possible by the semi-education which sets the standard (if 
one may use the word) today. 

302. Certain words and phrases are acquiring a psycho- 
logical usage which quite prevails over the original, purely 
logical, sense. For example, a man says : I heard footsteps and 
tried to interpret them. But the man who made them was not 
the one I expected. I was disappointed. Logically that means 
he was in error and was then freed from it. But in present- 
day language he says more, namely that he would have 
preferred the man who, in error, he expected, to the man who 
actually came. In the opposite case he would have said : I 
made a mistake, or possibly: I was agreeably disappointed. 

30 3. 7th July. The dove! Companion of the oracular 
gods in the first dark advent. Messenger of Salvation and 



sign of the Holy Spirit shall I fashion my Ode, impres- 
sionist in its beginning, theological in its end? Eternity 
must be morning, noon, evening and night, for how should 
I do without any one of them? And the voice of the dove : 
bless us, O powerful Spirit and say: Amen. The clear 
sayings and the dark contradictions betray the night of my 
thought and my weakness. Through hearing I came to the 
word, and through the word to the form: and out of word 
and form there arose the poem. 

304. How sovereign is Pascal's observation which came 
to my mind as I listened to the announcement of a victory : 
One could overlook the fact that the youth, Alexander, 
wished to conquer the world, but at his age Caesar should 
have known better. We are now in the process of learning, if 
it does not drive us mad, the infantile assumptions concealed 
behind this kind of Gloria Mundi. Still, perhaps that is to take 
the world trap cavalierement. Perhaps God loves those simple 
minds that give their lives for 'wealth and honour 5 rather 
than the proud man who despises the normal life of this 
world, to which belongs war and conquest. In that there 
is no doubt some truth, but where the Germans of today are 
concerned the thing is : what does it profit you to win the 
whole world and to lose your soul! It is no longer a matter 
of childishness and youthfulness, but of a sickly infantilism 
which is at once guilt and punishment. 

305. Not every grape is capable of fermenting nobly. A 
'culture 9 is presupposed. Thus in literature there is a certain 
aristocratic boredom. It presupposes a culture, and its 
greatest name is Adalbert Stifter. 

306. 10th July. And so after all it is possible that a man 
knowing that he will fall into madness, should nevertheless 
acquiesce beforehand, and commend his spirit to God 
before collapsing into the abyss: Lord, into thy hands, 
into thy hands 

1940 83 

307. There is the dew of tears on all beauty in this aeon. 

308. How difficult it is to imagine what man can have 
been before the fall, not so much, of course, in the abstract, 
but in the concrete. Moreover the difficulty lies in the fact 
that the whole of nature would be different, and even in 
this aeon it can sometimes be different for the Saint: 

309. There can be no doubt: whoever is convinced that 
only this world exists, that there is no eternal life for the 
individual person, then as ruler he must see to it that 
Christianity is stamped out, for it presupposes all that. He 
must also fight with all his might, with poison and deafening 
noise, against the merely natural longing of mankind for 
eternal life which was fulfilled through Christ. The doubt 
remains, however, whether a man can be as absolutely con- 
vinced that life is wholly and entirely of this world, as of 
the fact that England is an island, for example, and whether 
he does not merely wish it so for some reason or other (often 
transparent enough). In that case it is not his judgment 
which is in question, but his intention and his will that 
decides the matter. 

310. Spernere sperm (despising contempt) is only possible 
in God. Every unbaptised (and in the ultimate sense) 
unredeemed spirit is proud. The subtlest pride is in the 
humblest. The man who does not want to be noticed, 
nevertheless wants this to be noticed. And here I can only 
praise the politicians; they are not so refined. 

311. Nature is stronger than culture as soon as culture 
relaxes its effort for a moment. How quickly a cultivated 
rosebush goes back to its wild form, and how vulnerable 
and breakable is the culture of man. And this is the fact 
that the politicians of today overlook with incredible levity. 
The very fame they desire presupposes the culture they are 


in the process of destroying. And what then of their fame? 
O 5 if only they suspected how quickly men will not only 
despise them but forget them. They are fed to the teeth 
with them. 

312. A politician who knows his job catches men (leaving 
aside the crudely material basis of which he is not absolute 
master) not so much through honour, which presupposes a 
moral person, whereas he needs a mere instrument, 'num- 
bers', but rather through the desire for honours or ambition 
which is among the lowest and most childish of passions. 
An ambitious man, desiring honours may perfectly well 
be so distant from any conception of honour that he is 
capable of the most contemptible and disgraceful actions 
towards others. Honour is based upon the hierarchic order- 
ing of the human 'being 5 , that is to say upon the recognition 
of that order. If the order is perverted and truth falsified, 
then honour is reduced to a miserable and dangerous 
caricature of itself. There is a'positive' honour, just as there 
is a positive law, a natural honour and a natural law. If 
I falsify the natural law with the proposition 'what serves 
the nation is right', I falsify honour at the same time, for 
honour is necessarily bound up with the preservation of 
the law. Whoever subscribes to that false proposition 
enjoys the highest honours in the State which proclaims it, 
but in truth, in the true and indestructible order, he is 
without honour. The State which turns marriage into a 
stud must in this matter, order the man to seek his honour 
in being a bull, and the woman in being pregnant as 
often as possible, and in leaving the man who cannot 
make her pregnant. Both must commit the most dis- 
honourable actions when judged by true standards of 

313. A note on the word 'disillusioned 5 . The usage of 
this word is most instructive philosophically. It assumes 
that as a rule a man prefers to be deceived than to be 

1940 85 

disillusioned. In a truthful world there would be no such 
thing as deception, and in a world in which the love of truth 
came before everything a deception would always be looked 
upon as a misfortune and disillusionment regarded as a 
blessing because it means literally that one is taken out 
of an illusion. But custom shows that the illusion is nearly 
always preferred, and the disillusion that follows is un- 
welcome. The old saying is confirmed: mundus vult decipi, 
the world wants to be deceived. 

314. The colossus of mediocrity who himself produces 
colossal effects, was produced by the German apostasy, is 
maintained by it, and will be brought to end by it. The 
password of the archangel Michael is: Who is like God! 
Basso the Prince of mediocrity asks: Who is like me! He is 
a colossus, colossally destructive, the engineer of a colossal 
Reich, and of a colossal culture. He uses the language of 
mediocrity, unending superlatives. 

315. In c an evil hour 5 everything is falsified by over- 
simplification and false comparisons. Good and evil are 
alike, success is the criterion of the good and every means is 

316. The difficulty with all conversations is that the two 
speakers do not really understand one another. But although 
this is true in principle of all men, there are of course 
differences of degree to be taken into account. A man can 
only understand another in God. Men do not, however, 
need to know whether, at the moment they are talking, they 
have a relation to God. Kierkegaard possessed this 'double 
reflection 3 as he called it, all the time he was in conversation 
and it is almost equally certain that the other man did 
not know it. This hindrance, the great hindrance, the fact 
that men do not really understand one another, vanishes 
completely when we talk with God at any rate on one side : 
we can be absolutely certain that God understands us 


completely, better than we do ourselves. It may of course 
be that this very circumstance frightens man off, for to talk 
with God, as Job did, is exhausting and ends in prayer and 
silence. The soliloquy is a special problem. If it does not 
end in conversation with God it is very dangerous, more 
dangerous than conversation with a real partner. For what 
man knows himself? Soliloquising, man often constructs a 
false image of himself, or even a wholly unreal partner, and 
God alone knows where it all ends, and sometimes the devil 
alone knows. 

317. All in all, the best things that God has given me 
are my nights of solitary writing. An occasion for eternal 

318. 'Nietzsche smashed Christianity to pieces' is the 
official reading of the new state-religion. And at that there 
is not one of the moderns who has been broken to pieces by 
Christ with more merciless mercy. His intellect calcified, 
a granite-like stupidity formed itself into an invulnerable 
bulwark against the spirit, while the moral structure and 
manners were dissolved into a morass that could not be 
parallelled in the Inferno. 

319. How ambiguous things are, what a frightful difference 
runs through the whole world! Tears came to my eyes the 
first time that I heard that in eternity all tears would be 
dried. All! And how my eyes burnt when I heard a man 
tell the SS that he had laughed to tears at the last comic 
convulsions of the body of a man shot down with a machine- 
gun. Is it the same word? 

320. One thing the founders of the German Herrgott- 
religion do not and cannot assert: that Christianity came into 
the world through the Arians. One or two little efforts in 
that direction soon came to an end. But the Germans, they 
say, after having fallen for it in a weak moment, or having 

1940 87 

been outwitted, or having violence done to them, ennobled 
Christianity by building the most beautiful cathedrals and 
painting the most beautiful Madonnas. Even if that were 
so, and there were no French, English, Italian or Spanish 
Christian art what thinkers! The antipodes of hierarchic, 
orderly thought! Christianity itself is a lie, the product of 
degenerate races and of slaves from the Mediterranean pond 
but the sons of the German Herrgott, managed before re- 
vealing their true nature, and the truth of the German 
Herrgott (which is what is happening now) to build 'noble' 
buildings, and for a time sublimated the Christian lie. They 
built their beautiful cathedrals for a false faith, which in 
their opinion came from the dregs of humanity, namely 
the Jews what will they build for their faith? Just look and 
see, they are building already! 

321. Most great men, being egotistical, do not do the will 
of God and become, for others, a dangerous cul-de-sac. 
Those who imitate them and run after them can suddenly 
go no further and are all at once at a dead-end. Then 
some other Tiihrer' is needed to draw them in a new 
direction leading, so it seems, into the open. But after a 
short run the walls again close in. There is only one who 
is 'the way'. The way to God is God himself. 

322. The ideal of most translators is to write a 'smooth' 
German. But what if the author in question, whom they 
are translating, writes an English or Danish by no means 
c smooth'? What then? Isn't that a more essential falsifi- 
cation than merely mistranslating a word here and there? 
Then what is a smooth style in Europe today? The language 
of newspapers, no doubt! That is the magic of the printing 
press, its product; and the more it prints the more smooth 
it becomes, the more liquid, the more watery, the thinner. 
We seem almost to have reached the point where the 
European nations only understand their languages in this 
same 'smooth' style. 


323. What remains of the mockery of God but a petrified 
grin? Mockery is too light to act as a weight, too short to 
take soundings in the depths of being. 

324. It often seems to me that the Vatican has completely 
and absolutely forgotten that Peter was not only Bishop of 
Rome, and as such held the primacy of teaching and was 
infallible, but was also a martyr. But the days of recollection 
and imitation are approaching and are not far distant. 

325. Many thinking Christians consider that what is 
happening nowadays is not merely hard to understand, but 
altogether un-understandable. What is to be said of that? 
Distinguo. Considered absolutely, it certainly cannot be 
understood at all. And in that sense the things which are 
happening now are no different from any others. Absolutely 
understood, all events vanish in the silent depths of the 
inconceivability of God. But a relative understanding of 
everything that happens is always possible, and so too of 
what is happening today. There are many degrees of under- 
standing, and there are many aspects of understanding. One 
of them is this : it is being shown on a vast scale that a 
Reich and a peace (Peace is the principal mark of the idea 
Reich) can be based upon the apostate principles of a mad- 
man Nietzsche. For Hitler is an utterly plebeanised 
version (that is to say German, with a gipsy admixture) of 
Nietzsche-Wagner. I have always maintained the close 
relationship of both anarchical spirits. And now it is proved 
in the concrete, of both, in a single expression of will and 

326. The freedom of the children of God corresponds to 
the freedom of the children of Satan, only that these last 
make a use of their freedom which goes much further. 

327. Among men there is a certain joy over the fact that 
another man sins, falls, and loses something of his personal 

1940 89 

worth. It is the specifically devilish joy, far more evil than 
Schadenfreude it is the joy of the devil himself in a man. 
Ultimately it is the joy of extreme absence of love, and to 
that extent it is a problem in itself the problem of how 
there can be joy in such a thing. The measure of all the good 
in a man is love, and the measure of all evil in him is absence 
of love. 

328. Overnight, National Socialism has succeeded in 
reducing the Norwegians, who have been free men for a 
thousand years, to a form of servitude that has never existed 
in the world. The nations which were led into captivity by 
the Egyptians, the Assyrians, the Babylonians were certainly 
not compelled to assert they were free. And that is precisely 
what the subjugated nations of today are compelled to do. 

329. The racial theory includes the denial of the pro- 
position that the spirit bloweth where it listeth. Just as man 
can become the slave of the machine which he freely created, 
so, according to this theory, God having once created the 
Arian, and in particular the German, is compelled and 
obliged to place the creation of all good gifts for all eternity 
in his hands. Or more briefly: everything that they do 
comes from God and is good and right. To a healthy 
understanding that is of course childish, but then, once and 
for all, the mark of the Third Reich is infantilism. 

330. This is how it starts. When men no longer have the 
least fear of saying something untrue, they very soon have no 
feat whatsoever of doing something unjust. I mean this in 
general, of the teachers and leaders of nations. 

331. Where is the thought and the word that I think and 
say c at home'? What father bred them, what mother bore 
them? That is what I want to know, that is the end of my 
philosophy. The spirit has many abodes on earth and I 
wish to know them and be the guest of many. 


332. Language as such has its perfect spring and summer 
and autumn and winter, exemplified and exalted in the 
languages of the different peoples. None of the newer 
European languages possesses the spring of the Greek 
language or the maturity of the Latin, in comparable 

333. The essence of modern dictatorship is the com- 
bination of one-dimensional, flat thinking with power and 

334. Wonder is the qualitative distance which God 
placed between man and truth. It enables man to find the 

335. Philosophy has gained its best knowledge with the 
method of "wonder 5 , and the knowledge thus obtained 
is far deeper, far more valuable than that yielded by the 
method of doubt. Nevertheless the latter is quite in order, 
but it is ordered beneath the former. Whereas wonder 
alone is in place face to face with immediate being, what 
I can do and the compass of human understanding is quite 
rightly subjected to doubt. Indeed, when error has become 
ingrained, the method of doubt is the right one and helps 
to restore health. 

336. It is always at the cost of great errors that the dis- 
tinction between being and thinking becomes a separation, 
as though the one could exist without the other. Thinking 
is or has a being, and everything which is, either thinks 
or is thought. Nevertheless being is not thought nor is 
thought the same as being. Being cannot be nothing, but 
thought can think nothing. Therein lies the superiority of 
the spirit. 

337. It is hard to be forced to do work which one does 
not like, but it is horrible to be forced to stated times to a 

1940 91 

stated enjoyment. That is one of the discoveries of modern 
dictatorship, and that alone shows its devilish nature and 
its contempt for man. 

338. The Germans have dug graves for many nations, and 
into all of them they will fall themselves. They are digging 
themselves a 'greater German' grave. Until one comes who 
turns back. There is no other road to peace, except by 'turn- 
ing back'. But can nations ever turn back? It seems only to 
be possible to individuals. Have nations ever 'turned back 3 
in history? I know too little to be able to say. But I doubt it. 

339. The liberal democracies are perishing or will perish 
(unless they take the necessary precautions) from a lack of 
sense of obligation. It is just like a body perishing from 
lack of vitamins. Everything appears to be there, and 
nothing seems to be lacking, a mere nothing is wanting, 
but of a different order. The sense of obligation is a power 
unto itself, seemingly independent of the fact whether it is 
right or wrong that is binding. Where nothing is 'binding 5 
any longer, there is weakness, the lukewarmness' spoken 
of in the book of Revelation. Where there is no longer any 
possibility that Christ or his disciples should be crucified 
God and the devil have lost their rights and wrongs. 

340. A man will be judged by God according to the 
measure of his love. What love? Love of who or what? 
Now the answer to that is as clear and simple as possible. 
The Son of God answered this very question, literally., word 
for word, so to say, so that any evasion is impossible. But 
love is a transcending power, even though it is disorderly. 
It has, as it were, a superfluity of the divine within it. And 
so forgiveness is infinitely closer to a man who commits a 
great sin out of love for another, than to a man who un- 
lovingly commits a slight sin. For to be without love is in 
itself the greatest sin, far greater than any sin which a man 
can commit, though his love be disordered. 


341. Summer. Now that he' has 'achieved' so much, it 
must really annoy him not to be able to control and make 
something so simple and material, and yet very important, 
such as the weather. He will certainly have noticed that, 
though he certainly does not notice that he cannot c make' 
a German art, not to speak of a new religion. 

342. Naturally it is false to say that everything false, and 
that only the false is comic, and that the comic is based 
entirely upon the false in the sense that it contains a con- 
tradiction. On the other hand it would be true to say that 
there is something false in everything comic. 

343. The Germans have changed somewhat. They always, 
it is true, loved the inadequate, but they also loved the 
inaccessible and all the forms of its expression. That is no 
longer so: the inadequate is taught and absorbed in the 
most accessible forms. That is of course only temporary, 
for Hegel, and there will always be a Hegel, is part of 
'eternal Germany'. There is one here now. What bad luck 
for Heidegger to have arrived on the scene during this 
intermezzo, of all times. 

344. I have already lamented in these pages that the 
philologists who know so much, and have such a talent for 
learning and acquiring knowledge, then have so little idea 
what to do with all their knowledge, whereas there are 
things which I could do if only alas! I did not know so 
little, and had so little talent for finding out the things I 
want to know. At the moment, for example, I should like 
to know when 'History' was acclaimed divine judge for 
the first time. When did all that begin? One can perfectly 
understand that men laid great stress upon cuttir^a fine 
figure in the eyes of future generations, but from that to 
replacing God, the living and just judge, by such a question- 
able abstraction as history, always written by partisans, is 
a long step that can only be understood with difficulty. 

1940 93 

Do men wish to be judged by man alone, even nowadays, 
when they no longer wish to write history objectively, truly, 
justly, no longer sine, but cum ira et studio? What happened 
to bring that about? What was it exactly? And there the 
Philologist might be able to help me. 

345. It is a long time before most men recognise that there 
is such a thing as the 'irrevocable', and once again a long 
time before they recognise that they must act accordingly, 
and for the third time, it is very long before they do so act. 
And then, moreover, without grace, it would never happen 
at all. 

346. Everything tends to completeness, towards the whole, 
and completes the circle of hierarchy! Thus, what does it 
mean for a man to be 'spirit 3 ? It means that his thoughts 
should have 'body', that his body should not merely be a 
refractory organic or technical instrument of the spirit, for- 
eign to nature, nor even an absolutely obedient instrument; 
on the contrary, as a body, it should become spirit, so that 
while there would always remain a difference there should 
never be a divorce. 

347. That the thought looks for the word is a common or 
garden experience which almost everyone who has searched 
for a word, claims to have had. And naturally it is true 
enough, but real spiritual labour, and its adventures too, its 
conquest of unknown territories begins, without a doubt, 
when a word is in search of the thought. As a rule a word is 
both too much and too little for a thought. And in that way 
it sets thought in motion. In looking for a word to match the 
thought, the right word is found through reflection, by bring- 
ing the word back again to the thought and to thinking. The 
interchange of thought and language, of thinking and speak- 
ing takes place under the dominion of thought. The sphere 
of man's existence within thought is infinitely richer than his 
language. He can only express a tithe of his thought. This is 


absolutely true of the poorest, as of the richest in words, 
and it is the latter who will see the impotence of language 
most clearly. And whoever knows this and can express it in 
such a way that he extols its wealth and in the same breath 
betrays its want, and when he laments its want allows its 
superfluity to shine through is worthy to speak of language. 

348. Rejoinder: A rule is, as a rule, good qua rule, but 
beware if it rules out the exception. But surely that is what 
it must do, if it is a 'rule', doesn't that belong to the very 
conception of 'rule'? Yes, as a rule; but there are excep- 
tions. And here we are, in a circle! What then is the 
meaning and significance of e the exception 5 ? Fundament- 
ally, it is the privilege of God, of the Lord who presides over 
the rule; it is the primacy of freedom, of the person, which 
takes precedence over the compulsion of laws and rules; 
its meaning is that, ultimately, we are not under the hard 
and fast, mechanical rule, but under the all-powerful will of 
God, which is free. Now what does that mean? Here and 
there, there is an exception! As a rule God desires the rule 
of law, even where we men are concerned. That is not 
quite certain. Perhaps as a rule, God desires the exception, 
and we bungle the thing, by following the rule lazily, as a 
rule, even when we do not will it. Don't you think your 
ideas are getting confused? No, I think they are well ordered. 

349. Things which have greatly concerned and bothered 
one should never be allowed to recur once they are in fact 
settled; they should be left alone, even in thought. - Those 
who live predominantly in the realm of memory often 
offend against this law of prudence. Memories of this 
kind are as a rule very agreeable, once the real danger has 
been eliminated. They offer a sort of intellectual pleasure 
that weakens and unnerves the spiritual life. 

350. How early in life a certain knowledge, self-knowledge 
and forebodings come to a man! Often enough it is only 

1940 95 

the weakness of our memories which prevents us noticing 
it. I can remember how in my childhood, when I was 
about twelve years old, a thought struck me; and as with 
other deeply rooted memories, I can remember the very 
street, and see myself as very strange, and almost incon- 
ceivable, walking along. We were reading Cornelius Nepos 
in school at the time, and I liked to imagine myself in the 
role of a roman consul or senator; but one day, at the 
Tish Fountain', the thought suddenly struck me I was 
twelve years old : How strong you would be if only you 
stopped playing and turned your mind to c reaP things! I 
still have the same inclination towards childish, fruitless 
phantasy, though I am 61 years old, and always with the 
recollection of that foreboding, not to let an inborn tendency 
become a vice, but to make a virtue of it. I have also 
found that men without a trace of this kind of phantasy 
become irretrievable philistines, hard working, certainly, 
and very often successful. 

35L In the West there has always existed an intuitive 
recognition of the spirit of virginity, realised in the mar- 
vellous and beautiful goddesses Artemis and Athene, and 
in the paler, and more easily conceivable forms of Diana 
and Minerva. No other people had anything approaching 
it: the Jews had the 'bridal' virgin. And it was only the 
union, natural and supernatural of Artemis, proud and shy, 
and of Athene, motherly and wise, and of the Jewish con- 
ception of 'bridal' virginity, with the supernatural con- 
ception of the Mother of God, that brought forth that 
magnificent conception, the Nun. Today contempt and 
defamation are poured out from the heart of Europe upon 
the Bride of Christ, the natural nobility of the West, and the 
whole conception of virginity expressed in Artemis and 
Athene; they are all dragged in the mud. And what are 
the ideas which are put in their place? Something easier 
to realise! The regimented whore and the calving cow! The 
idea of perfection in marriage stands in the closest relation 


to that of virginity. And virginity is placed above marriage 
in anticipation of the state of eternal life. In heaven c man 
and woman' will not cease to be they are eternal; for man 
is created as c man and woman 5 but the propagation of the 
species will no longer continue. 

352. Men who are 'still waters 5 often believe with diffi- 
culty in the forgiveness of sins, and remain clouded, and do 
not get rid of the dirt. Men who are active., who are 
"running water', believe in it more easily. 

555. Among mortals, it is Plato who found the happiest 
images with which to express the being and existence of 
man and the world, and in certain circumstances they are 
the most dangerous : that the essence of the world is super- 
fluity and want; that there is one power in man which lifts 
him to the sun, one that drags him down; that the complete 
man is both man and woman; that man only knows the 
shadows of the truth he is really unsurpassed and by 
himself, perhaps, no man can surpass him. And why then 
are they dangerous? Because they are images of the truth; 
not the truth. Because they are only shadows of the truth. 

354. If eternal life were not free from 'dread', I should not 
desire it. But supposing for a moment there was a man in 
this life who was entirely without 'dread' (and at the 
present time there are many in high places who pride 
themselves upon the fact), then I should not want to be that 
man. I should indeed c dread j him. 

355. And so you have not done something and not had 
something which you thought it impossible not to do and 
not to have. It was, you see, possible. The imagination 
is often the most stubborn antagonist of a better will. 

356. If God himself had not proclaimed that He rested 
on the seventh day, and had not ordered men to have one 

1940 97 

day's rest in the week, the spiritual man might easily have 
been led astray not to rest, and even to look upon rest as 
a crime. But it is also said that God always acts. And so 
perhaps man too can work while he is resting. But that is 
only intelligible to the Homo Spiritualis. 

357. It is usually men with ulterior motives who want to 
express Christ's words or the words of the^ apostles more 
clearly. But though their intention may not be evil, they 
are lacking in the c sense of faith 3 . And that too is by no 
means harmless. The e sense of faith' penetrates the obscurity 
of the words of scripture, but it does not clarify them. 

358. Humour is a finite spiritual sphere while faith is the 
infinite. That may be seen from the nature of despair, and 
its dialectic. A man in despair, a man that is, who has not 
got faith, or has lost it, can perfectly well have a high degree 
of humour, even to the point of genius. Shakespeare is full 
of examples. The humorous rejoinders of a man in despair 
are flung back, as it were, from the walls of the infinite 
spiritual sphere which to him are impenetrable, and they 
have a particular, unmistakable and sinister ring. The 
humorous rejoinders of a martyr like Thomas More at the 
moment when his faith looked into heaven strike a very 
different note; the tone is of this world like the tone of all 
humour, but it is not the tone of a solitary, 'lost' man, as 
in the case of a man in despair; he strikes a chord in which 
sounds the heavenly harmony of the seen and the unseen 
world. At times the believer may see himself in this world 
bereft of every finite possibility, he may be deprived of 
humour altogether, even of the humour of despair, and yet 
with the eye of faith he will see the quintessence of every 
possibility, and of what is for man the impossible possibility: 
God himself. 

359. No subject without an object, and the reverse, is a 
genuinely metaphysical proposition which Schopenhauer, 


for example, loved. But that alone does not get one far. 
One has the right to speak of a sub-objective and even of an 
ob-subjective. Though perhaps that is unnecessary. I should, 
however, unhesitatingly speak of feeling as sub-objective. In 
feeling the fusion and interpretations of subject and object is 
complete, whereas in the rational-logical the distinction 
between them, their separation reaches its furthest degree 
though this is not, consequently, the case in the true concrete 
thought of reality. The rational-logical is an abstraction. In 
reality, in real being, the sharpest distinction between subject 
and object belongs to the will, with the centre of gravity in 
the object; in feeling it is weakest and weakening, for it runs 
the danger of placing everything in the subject (the 'name' 
is noise and smoke). The normal relation of subject and 
object, so to speak, belongs to pure thought. 

360. If the 'authoritarian 3 States, whose task was a correc- 
tive one, continue to commit crimes inhuman and most 
offensive to God, on this scale and at this tempo, then in 
no very distant time the age of liberalism will be looked upon 
as the golden age. 

36 7. As if' has its place in human thought; which cannot 
operate theoretically or practically without an hypothesis. 
But it is pure sophistry to put forward the thesis, and not 
the hypothesis, that all our knowledge rests on a hypo- 
thesis, on an ; as if'. One sees it at once when instead of 
saying C A is A' one simply says: 'it is as if A were like A'. 
That is absurd. 'As if' has little point in all essential know- 
ledge. But that is not true of questions relating to existence. 
It is not senseless to say: 'It is as though God existed', or 
'It is as though God were not 5 . 

362. At one moment Ibsen was a great prophet in great 
and decisive matters, hidden, speaking softly, hardly con- 
scious of his own significance; and that is in the Master 
Builder. The play is more profound and far more important 

1940 99 

as a personal tragedy, than as a fable, though even as such it 
is by no means unimportant. The Master Builder rebels 
against God and rejects God on the tower of his Church. It 
all happens, of course, in the style of the 19th century, but 
is no less clear on that account. One had a drawing-room, 
or a sitting-room or a front-parlour (three degrees), and even 
in the last extremity did not forget to behave 'correctly'. The 
Master Builder was to build no more Churches, but only 
houses for men, just as Ibsen the poet was to write no more 
Brands or Peer Gynts but only social plays, contenting himself 
with this world. This tragic decision certainly weighed 
heavily upon Ibsen, and he died in spiritual darkness. 
But: the rejection of God under the form of not building 
any more Unprofitable' Churches, but only 'useful' houses 
is a prophecy which was to be fulfilled on a gigantic scale. 

363. To require of a man whose calling it is to concern 
himself with modern literature and philosophy, to consider 
literature and philosophy sub specie aeterni means quite simply 
that he should not see them at all, for sub specie aeterni they 
simply do not exist. Ought one to require this asceticism 
from him, if he does not himself wish to exercise it? 

364. It is verboten to refer to members of the party as Kerle 
'fellows'. A tremendous change in the language when one 
thinks that Goethe and Schiller were still 'fellows' and took 
no offence at it, although the word had already been debased 
and corrupted by a Prussian King. But really these 'fellows' 
who now forbids its use, have done more than anyone, by 
their very existence, to defame the word. 

36*5. When one reads history and the histories of the 
nations and their accusations one against another, then God 
has only one thing left to do, and that is revenge. Is that 
a task worthy of God? But why all this? What is it all about? 
Why is the world like it is? For the stupidity of the world, 
which is certainly undeniable, the stupidity of not seeing 


what is happening and how things stand, is not after all any 
explanation of the fact that God allows it to happen; on the 
contrary, it is the stupidity, which most of all needs to be 
explained. That is the language of the angered. Every man 
is angry at times, and before God he is always in the wrong. 
One of the differences between the children of c this world' 
and the children of God is this, that the former regard the 
moments when they are 'tempted' to believe in God as their 
moments of weakness, whereas the latter, on the contrary- 
regard their weak moments as those in which they are 
tempted not to believe in God. That is perfectly in order. 
The former regard themselves as strong, the latter them- 
selves as weak, and God as strong. 

366. Thinking is not speaking. It is a very difficult thing 
to discover and acquire the language of one's own thought. 
Each separate individual is very likely original in his 
thought. But between his thought and its fit expression the 
well established common language stands like an enormous, 
impenetrable wall, like an all-devouring monster, like a 
steam-roller levelling everything down. Only the whole 
strength of love, only a loving strength, and strength joined 
to humility and devotion can make it personal, and yet in 
such a way that it remains the common tongue. 

367. It could not be said that God loves miracles parti- 
cularly. They are extremely rare, both in public and in 
private life. 

368. The tragic destiny of the Germans: through grace 
they received the gift of the imperium, Tor nothing 5 ; and they 
made "nothing 3 of it. It has been a terrible falling off, and 
at that very point, for the sake of the Reich. And childish 
men are destroying it on the plea of establishing it for ever. 

369. Tyrants always want a language and literature that 
is easily understood, for nothing so weakens thought; and 

1940 101 

what they need is an enfeebled thought, for nothing keeps 
them so firmly in power. When the ideal and the order is 
to write an easily understood style, anyone who is difficult 
to understand is eo ipso suspect. 

370. To do away with the construction of the period is 
to destroy the individual sentences. 

371. In order to answer the question: What is man? one 
must of course say everything that he really is and really 
possesses, and say it in the right order. But there is one 
expedient which is of great assistance, and that is to find out 
what, in the whole universe, only man has, and animals for 
example and angels do not have. For instance, faith, 
laughter and tears. 

372. When one is on the winning side one is easily tempted 
to believe, in a rationalistic age, that the course of events 
follows man's reckoning; but one forgets that the others, 
the losing side, have also made their reckoning, without its 
having come out right. And then, when one looks at 
history has it ever followed the course of human reckoning? 
Can it be otherwise today? 

575. In times such as these, to be in the hands of God 
means: not to despair. But then, they say, do men ever 
despair, or can they be said to be in danger of despair? 
Is not everything right in the world since we limit our 
thoughts and ourselves to this world and to this life? No, 
my friend, men do despair, many of them. 

574. Happiness in heaven means that every man can do 
what he wills because he has perfect love. In this aeon, 
certainly, there is no man who is not horror-stricken at the 
thought that men do what they will. For nowadays such 
men exist but they pride themselves upon being good 


375. 20th August. How many nights of writing does 
this make? I have no idea; I have never counted They 
have been the happiness and good fortune of my life. 
And yet each night I have had to fight against their 
fatigue before being overcome by their happiness and good 

376. 6th Sept. Now and then I have the most fan- 
tastic dreams, though for the most part they are quickly 
forgotten or else never remembered. This afternoon I 
dreamed that I sat in front of the Cafe Luitpold, writing. 
The sheets of my manuscript lay about on the table just 
as they do at home, at night, when I am writing. Round 
about me stood some friends, their faces immovable, staring 
at me. Suddenly a dark, 'well-dressed' man, rushed up to 
me and tried to gather up my manuscript. I was astonished 
and tried to defend myself. And then another man, just 
as 'well-dressed 3 , came up and shouted: 'Stop! That's not 
the one!' And turning to me politely, says: Excuse me, 
this gentleman has commissioned some stories from Moralla. 
Can you tell us where he lives? Yes, I answered, on the 
fourth floor. They hurried off into the courtyard, that 
appeared suddenly from nowhere. In the hand of one I 
saw a pistol, and in the other one's hand a dagger. I was 
terrified, but laughed aloud nervously. My friends, their 
faces immovable, stared at me. After a minute or two, 
one of the men came back and called to me, beckoning. 
We can't find him, help us! All at once there was an 
enormous lift standing ready. I got in, alone. With one 
swoop and a tremendous noise the lift went thundering up 
at a terrific speed. It burst through the roof and stopped. 
I pressed the button again and went down again to the 
fourth floor. People whom I did not recognise were running 
to and fro in the warehouse. It was all very sinister, and I 
was frightened. Suddenly I was standing on a balcony in 
front of a mansard window, where there were some ger- 
aniums. Behind it stood a very old man with ice grey hair 

1940 103 

hanging down to his shoulders. He was playing the harp; 
beside him was a little girl about ten years old, to whom he 
was telling a fairy story; 'And do you know, yesterday 
Mariele returned to her father and mother as a sound'. 
Then I woke up, wondering bemusedly how a child could 
return as a sound. And probably it is thanks to that 
astonishment that I remembered the dream at all. Gracious 
heavens, where are we when asleep? 

577. How frail and uncertain is man's happiness, even 
when it is deep and seems invincible! The least breeze 
blows it from one's brow and extinguishes its radiant light 
from your heart. And it was night. St. John's Gospel xvii. 

575. The world and its overlordship, as demanded by the 
Germans, is based upon the following principles: 

1. There are three kinds of man: (a) Supermen 
(b) Men (c) Sub-men. 

2. In doubtful cases the Fiihrer of the Supermen 
always decides in which category of man the 
existing nations belong. 

3. The Ftihrer of the Supermen is always, without 
exception, the Ftihrer of the Germans. For it is 
eternally true of the Germans alone (Germans, 
past, present and future) that they are Supermen. 
Of the Arians, who in the widest sense of the 
word are Supermen, it must be said that until 
they become Germans they may become de- 
cadent, and that on the authoritative decision of 
the Fiihrer of the Germans they may be degraded 
for (opportune) political reasons, to the rank of 
men (if not, as in the case of the English Pluto- 
crats, to the rank of sub-men). This is done by 
virtue of the fact that the Ftihrer is not only the 


creator of the positive law, but also of the 
natural law. 

4. In precisely the same absolute eternal sense that 
the Germans are Supermen, the Jews are sub- 
men. Close after them come the Poles, and then 
perhaps Negros. 

5. There is a God. His name is : the Herrgott, or the 
German Herrgott^ or the All-powerful, or Provi- 
dence. Hence there is a religion, the German 
Herrgott-religion in fact. It has no dogmas. And 
so everyone can think as they please. Only they 
may not act. The theology is simple. The will of 
God, as German Herrgott, is that things should go 
well for the Germans and that they should rule 
over everyone. No wonder! German mystics 
have found out that without them, God would 
not exist. But now, since they themselves are the 
products of the German people, it does not take 
much logic to perceive that in that case God 
himself is a product of this same German people. 
And damn me if that's a pamphlet. 

379. 8th Sept. We no longer say: c Gott strafe England'! 
Nowadays we say e Der Ftihrer straft England 5 and what is 
more, with reason. A million and half tons of bombs on 

380. Even now, very many people engaged in apologetics 
still argue as though God were indeed all-powerful, but in a 
world, so to speak, which is not of Him, as though it were 
simply foreign to Him as well as to his followers. That is one 
form of childishness. For the world is created by Him, it is 
His work, His creation. That is a mystery which must be 
taken up and thought through in our love of Him and in 
His love for us. 

1940 105 

38L It does not really meet the case to say that the con- 
ception of life as a dream is purely oriental. It is, for 
example, Spanish, though this might be said to be due to the 
arab occupation. But in the meanwhile: what about 
Shakespeare? No, the answer is that it is 'human, 3 and it 
corresponds to a reality. Man is created out of nothing, 
and he could be 'different 3 , like every dream. In a dream 
everything could be different from what it is. And so the 
poets say: How often it has happened in a dream that I 
have seemed to awaken, and have only awoken to a new 
dream perhaps my whole life is a dream. To the poet and 
the metaphysician that is anything but strange. To the 
religious man it is a distraction a dream which he rejects. 

382. Catholics often confuse themselves with their religion 
to such an extent that they think people are converted for 
their sakes, on their account, and not for the sake of Christ 
and the truth. At times it is grotesquely comic. 

383. Men no longer test words to see what truth there is 
in them. The majority are only interested in knowing what 
their effect will be. 

384. As a rule women are no friends of satire and polemics 
and that is as it should be; it is not their business. Satire 
and polemics offer no home and there is nothing 'motherly' 
about them. 

385. The proper order: the individual sentence serves the 
whole period, which is a building, and it is written accord- 
ingly. The spiritual actions of the assertion come first, the 
innumerable inter-connections of every kind in all their 
nuances, the foundation, the consequence, the intention, 
the determinants, and more especially in the case of careful, 
scrupulous minds, the concession, beginning with the out- 
right ones, and going on to those which are made with 
difficulty, almost whispered all these spiritual actions give 


its form to the classical prose of western languages and 
literatures. On the other hand, however, there is the stand- 
ard, pre-fabricated sentence of ready-made material that 
predetermines the constructions of the 'enlarged 5 or 'ex- 
panded 5 sentence. The semi-colon disappears from punctua- 
tion; a sure sign of the decay of the period. 

386. The great delusion: that mockery is of any use. It 
does not better the ordinary man, it only arouses his 
implacable hatred and his lust for revenge. And in certain 
circumstances it can wound the better man mortally. 

387. 22nd Sept. If I should still have many and great 
sufferings before me, my Lord and my God, then let some- 
thing thereof be worthy of thy name, of thy humiliation 
and thy glory. 

388. What does it profit thee to gain the whole world and 
take harm to thy soul? When one thinks that no one has 
ever gained the whole world, and moreover that none will 
ever gain it, and that men are willing to harm their souls for 
a few pence, one may well be staggered. On the other hand, 
once these words are thoroughly grasped, there is an end to 
gloria mundi. The smell of it in one's nostrils is as unbearable 
as the rank smoke of burning straw. 

389. In the first instance 'wisdom 5 needs silence and the 
spoken word, for the actual 'presence 5 of the giver is im- 
portant for the receiver. And consequently the written 
word only comes second; for then the reader is alone, 
unless of course he too is wise. And that is seldom. 

390. There are prophets who have a 'sympathetic 5 relation 
to the horrors which they foretell, they seem half to wish the 
fulfilment of their prophecies and were it to happen they 
would fit happily into the scene. I am thinking of Luden- 
dorffand total war. There are in fact prophets and prophets. 

1940 107 

those through whom the spirit of God speaks and then 
there are others. 

39 L Those who are scandalised say: perhaps God has 
changed. When those who are 'scandalised' are also 
religious, they always maintain that some particular dog- 
matic attribute of God is false. In this case, God's unchange- 
ableness. The 'scandalised' always have too high a con- 
ception of their own conceptions and judgments, which 
have not got the length and breadth, the height and depth 
of those of the divine. 'Scandal 3 is the mark of a defective 

392. Render unto God the things that are God's and to 
Caesar the things that are Caesar's. That is the division 
willed by God for this aeon. On that point there is not the 
smallest doubt. The meaning of these clear words can 
neither be impugned nor twisted. But what has always to be 
interpreted anew is the content of both commandments. 
What is God's? What is to be given to God? What is 
Caesar's? And what is to be given to Caesar? On these 
matters the bloodiest struggles are possible (even though 
it may be and should be clear that the conscience of every 
individual man belongs to God). But this fact cannot con- 
tinue to be recognised, and will be increasingly denied, and 
ultimately falsified hopelessly if 

1. The primacy of the divine law over human law 
is not recognised 

2. The rights of Caesar are annulled and everything 
is brought directly under the Lordship of God or 
of the clergy, and finally 

3. If it is said (the heresy of the present age!) that 
the only right and the only power is Caesar's. 
Everything is given to him, even the conscience 


of man, for he is, or at any rate the people are, 
if not God, then a direct, infallible organ of God. 

393. The Prussian-German theology of war is in actual 
fact: God is always on the side of the strongest battalions. 
The practical consequence of this is, and they draw it and 
carry it out: we must a tout prix make our battalions the 
strongest, then God must be with us. That is bad theology. 
Nor will these theologians be converted, even by a miracle. 

394. The voice of the 'scandalised 5 : Man proposes, God 
disposes. But is that not reversed nowadays? Man may not 
think and propose, but he certainly disposes! And perhaps 
that will give God to think. Your jokes, my friend, are 
rather cheap, not even worthy of your despair, and the 
bitterness of your heart. It is time you looked around for a 
different way! Be silent, weep, fold your hands and pray; 
only leave off joking For nothing has changed and every- 
thing is as it was. For God is the Lord. He proposes and 
disposes differently from man. 

395. 28th September. Perhaps it is no longer to be: 
the association of impure passions with the truth which is 
Christianity. These impure passions, which in the political 
life of today turn one's stomach, rend one's heart, and 
torture one's nerves, unfortunately played a part, at times, 
in the history of Christianity. Christianity calls for a spiritual 
society of 'individuals' in which each and every individual 
in every detail, is formed to the truth. Kierkegaard's 
category e the individual' is in fact the Christian need of the 
day, as opposed to the decadence of man into c the masses', 
and in opposition to the glorification of the 'hollow' man 
without a conscience. 

396. I do not think that those who say such things have 
never happened before are right. Qualitatively they are 
wrong, for it has all happened before (treason, malice, 

1940 109 

trickery, lies, horrors). But quantitively speaking they are 
right: things have never been organised and premeditated 
on such a scale. And then there is one thing more to be 
added : I do not think it has ever happened that men have 
been expressly forbidden to regard what was happening at 
the time as horrible, disgusting, false and evil, forbidden to 
long for a better world. In Germany today that is a pun- 
ishable offence, and surely that is more than even Hell has 
the right to demand. 

397. I am coming more and more to the conclusion that 
the history which derives from German idealism a pro- 
fessorial history is simply humbug. In that thin, pale 
atmosphere, personalities and passions evaporate. And no 
one could tell from reading it, that Satan was the Prince of 
this world. The idealistic school of historical writing ends, 
like idealistic philosophy, with e as if. 

398. The historian cannot choose his villains like the poet> 
nor invent them. At a particular time they are 'given'. 
Given, as it were, perfectly clearly, by a higher power. 

399. In addition to his particular knowledge the historian 
today needs above all to know his catechism., and in addition 
perhaps a smattering of criminal psychology. That is much 
more important than a knowledge of German Idealism. 

400. 30th September. Kierkegaard's 'Silent despair. 3 
There are many more men in that state than is commonly 
allowed, not indeed to the same power, and with the same 
all-pervading reflection. There is, as a counter-balance, a 
"silent happiness'. And often the two conditions alternate 
in the same individual. Fortunately, therefore, Kierke- 
gaard's description of silent despair is somewhat exaggerated. 
(The world is not Hell., neither is it Heaven). But if it is an 
almost permanent condition, a 'habitus', it is not always 
actual, and it is often only as past that it becomes vivid and 


profoundly 'recollected 5 , because it is in fact buried incon- 
ceivably deep in the memory. And the same is true, the 
other way round, of silent happiness. 

401. When Plato attained the knowledge and the con- 
viction that it was better to suffer injustice than to commit 
it, he was not far from Christian ethics what am I saying : 
he was at their very centre. But as for the essence of Christ- 
ianity, there I have to believe that Jesus of Nazareth is the 
Eternal Son of God. 

404. Mundum tradidit disputationi eomm. God gave the 
world to man for disputation, for him to break his head 
over, and even to break each other's over. 

403. 4th October. I once counselled a man in despair to 
do what I myself did in similar circumstances : to live for 
short terms. Come, I said to myself at that time, at any rate 
you can bear it for a quarter of an hour! 

404. Even the best that the best have written could be 
better still. And to that there is no end. If you do not set 
a limit, and in time a work must have an end, you will never 
reach the end. And then : isn't that what God did? Might 
the world not have been better, in spite of Leibnitz? 
humanly speaking? 

405. There is of course something wrong with a man who 
is only partly humorous, or is only humorous at times, for 
humour ought to be a yeast, working through the whole of 
a man and his bearing. 

406. 'Inconceivability' is an attribute of God that ration- 
alism simply cannot grasp at all; to rationalism, one might 
say, it just does not exist. Neither can it concern itself with 
any of the attributes of God, consistently or profoundly. 
It very soon comes up against the contradictions which only 

1940 111 

exist, however, for human reason. And therefore it is quite 
unable to risk penetrating to the very foundations, to the 
ultimate consequences which break the human ratio to 
pieces and render it useless. It looks as though, of the two, 
irrationalism were better placed, but it only seems so. It is 
inadequate on other grounds, and unless it transcends 
itself, it is less dignified than rationalism. They hold that 
their 'Irrational' is something altogether beyond the in- 
tellect and outside it. But it is only beyond and outside the 
human intellect, though within the divine intellect. Human 
thought, resting upon faith, means the most fearless and 
consistent thinking. It says that God is absolutely one, and 
yet three. It does not fear to say and to hold that man is 
free, responsible for his acts, and then again to say and to 
hold that God chooses his own. It does not say this c as if s 
it were so, as an 'as if', but says it is so. And there is nothing 
which it so greatly fears as to say one of these truths in such 
a way as to omit the others. 

407. The attributes of God are too many for any one 
saint to live them alL It is still wanting, it is due to the 
saints ab incomprehensibilitate Dei. 

408. Men are really creatures of the middle register, 
neither altogether good nor altogether bad. And so it 
happens that when the ordering of the World is good, the 
wickedness and carelessness of the individuals spoil and 
slowly bury it, and on the other hand, thank God, the 
reverse of the medal is that a bad order, or a disorder of 
the whole, is softened and mitigated by the goodness and 
the virtue of individuals. 

409. What sort of a hellish pretence is it, and what does 
it mean? Works of love without love, works of light without 
light! Hatred and darkness as a sign of love and light. 
What a hellish deception. And men tell the truth in order 
to lie. 


410. Once philosophers have written their principal work, 
they not infrequently simply become their own disciples. 
The outstanding example is Schopenhauer. After having 
composed his system at a very early age, he became his own 
most admiring pupil. He 'deduced' certain further truths 
from his own philosophy., which he had conceived and 
written in an entirely different state of mind, and when the 
character of his intuition was entirely different. Even the 
later Plato is not really Plato any longer; he is only a 
Platonist, his own greatest follower no doubt, but no longer 
the master himself. 

41L A language simply cannot be too rich, and though 
its wealth may be a danger to gossipy, literary men, it is 
invaluable where knowledge is concerned. I am always 
suspicious of the grammarians who are for ever ready to 
accuse a writer, and particularly one of the ancients, of 
Hendiadys, as though it were wrong in itself. They are too 
arid and impoverished (another hendiadys) to perceive that 
what is spiritually one is not always best expressed by one 
word, and indeed can often be conveyed better by two or 
even more sides of the 'one 5 , in order to illuminate the 
whole. They also seem to me to fail in their duty as teachers 
and masters of language when they hold to a rigid and 
inflexible order of words in the sentence. It is difficult to say 
how great is the difference produced by a change in the 
position of the individual words. In any case, no writer is 
going to forego the possibilities which this offers for the sake 
of a rigid rule. And then, language is of the spirit. 

412. 'And that too will pass'. How often one hears that 
said! One has only to think how often one has said it. 
What a span of time it includes. How much light this 
fact throws on the human condition! 

413. Nous ffaurons plus jamais fame de ce soir, is of course 
only a superficial observation, but it calls forth a gentle, 

1940 113 

almost voluptuous sadness, a melancholy that is also 

414. Tassion 5 is in the first instance a characteristic of 
feeling, and only secondarily of willing and thinking. To 
cleanse the passions means to purify the feelings. Is Flaubert 
altogether guiltless of the fact that so many Germans 
translate V education sentimentale quite meaninglessly, as 
c the sentimental education 5 , instead of c the education of 
feeling 5 ? 

415. The clearest, most transparent relationship of subject 
and object, and the reverse, is attained in thought. The 
object of thinking is being, or something existent, even when 
it is the being of thought, and existing thought, in whatever 
mode it may be. In willing, the object is not the pure, 
substantive being of thought, but always being inseparably 
and most intimately bound up with a verb to do, to act or 
to possess. I want bread, means I want to have, to take or 
to possess bread. In thought I may be wholly unconcerned 
with that about which I am thinking, and to this extent 
thinking is the most objective activity possible to man, and 
willing is ob-subjective; nobody who wills a thing can be 
unconcerned about the thing he wills ; but it is outside him, 
although he may wish to change it; with one exception, if 
he wills the truth. If he really wants to possess the truth, 
then he cannot wish to change it, for in that case he would 
not receive the truth. And so in this case he can only change 
himself. Certainly a rare case, for who desires the truth? 
But now what about feeling? Of all three (thinking., willing, 
feeling) it is without any doubt the most subjective way in 
which a man may be related to the world. That, it seems 
to me, is as far as we may venture without treading too near 
the truth, and disturbing the hierarchy of the orders. 

416. There are, in actual fact, men who talk like books. 
Happily, however, there are also books that talk like men. 



417. llth November. Ever and again I am horrified at 
the German voices. They betray absolutely everything, 
they cry out their own evil. And the fact that this con- 
tinues unobserved is more frightful still. Today I heard the 
voice of Field-marshal Brauchitsch. An empty, hollow voice 
rattled out some empty, hollow things: calling upon the 
dead in the name of the Fiihrer, and in the name of the 
national-socialist Weltanschauung. A demoniacal perform- 
ance. However, the voice of Baldur von Schirach, Gau- 
leiter of Vienna, outdid him and completed this 'German 
Requkfi'. But what a misuse of the word! And of course 
they domf- want the dead to rest; they want them to 'arise 3 
at the call of the Fiihrer. 

418. Became, in reality, evil came into the world through 
the will, OIK : can understand that philosophers should 
regard the wffi itself as evil; and because power realises 
evil what wonder that, to so many, power itself is evil. 

419. The servants of the devil have, by and large, learnt 
his most important lessons, and taken over his method. 
They dominate man best by teaching clearly and impres- 
sively that man is good by nature and that there is no such 
thing as sin. They teach man that he is a god, and treat 
him like cattle, and as the most worthless canaille. As long 
as a man can be made to think highly of himself, he will 
hardly be able to tell the difference between appearance 
and reality. To himself he seems to be a god; and eats dust. 
For a time tfiat is certain: only for a time. 

420. The principal cause of the present situation: the 
falling away from God, disobedience towards God, is of 
course interwoven with many subsidiary causes. One of 
these is the mass use and misuse of higher education. New- 
man warned against it. Why should fathers whose sons 
are to go into trade or business have their sons taught 
Latin and Greek? Latin and Greek are a violation of the 

1940 115 

understanding of the average child, and a torture if the 
teacher is unreasonable. By far the greater proportion of 
those of our Flihrers who studied the humanities were below 
the average as scholars. They are revenging themselves hor- 
ribly, full of poisonous c ressentiment 2 for the drudgery and 
sweat and the inferiority complex which a too high ideal 
of education brought upon them. 

42L There is in every man, I believe, a fear of a Doppel- 
ganger^ of a double in an absolute sense. Even the man of 
the masses wants to be original. It is naturally the man who 
has the greatest assurance of being unique objectively who 
feels the fear most. The height of madness would be to 
suppose that God has a double. 

422. Somewhere or other I wrote that one only knows 
one's home in homesickness. I really had a home and 
knew it; I have often been and still sometimes am home- 
sick, but my eternal home is only known to me in my 

423. It is really appalling how little map kind's conscious- 
ness retains of all that has happened in the millions of 
years of his history, and then how crude, how fantastic and 
wanting in proportion is the relation between the real 
significance of the day's events, and the meaning so 
presumptuously proclaimed by those who comment upon 

424. I can feel no great respect for those who look upon 
God as a rigid law, no doubt because I should not have 
much respect for such a God. 

425. 21st November. If one cannot, or does not wish to 
shoot a man who runs amok, there is only one other way out 
though it is a certain one to let him exhaust himself, 
and use himself up. The horrible example of the present 


day could easily have been rendered harmless at the 
beginning; now it is only possible by letting him destroy 
himself. That is absolutely certain to succeed. 

426. The general rule is, that a man's spiritual powers are 
gradually worn down by his body with its unruly demands 
and its final domination. It is a sad sight. The exception 
is the growth of the spirit at the cost of the body that is 
slowly used up. And that too is a tragedy, though a grandiose 
one, marking the lack of proportion in man. Among the 
examples in history which we can follow, the greatest, to 
my mind, is that of Kierkegaard. His body grew weaker 
and weaker, and at the end there was simply no bodily 
strength left at all. But there is not a trace of spiritual 
weakening, of falling off, down to the very last words which 
he wrote or spoke, not a trace. Anyone with any conception 
of what writing means must, simply as a writer, be fascinated 
by the variations on a single theme which are found in 
'The Instant'. (Kierkegaard's last pamphlet). Time and 
again they spring naked and strong, perfectly proportioned 
and fresh from their author's mind; and over and over 
again one is moved at the sight. Kierkegaard's Journals, that 
cover almost twenty years, do not contain a single repetition, 
with one exception, a repetition he himself notes. When 
one thinks that at the end he had only one theme, and when 
one thinks of the astonishing productivity of the man during 
all those years, his power of memory alone is astonishing, 
and without example. I, at least, know of none. 

427. The 'suspension of the ethical', the temporary inter- 
ruption of the universal law can only be justified, in Kierke- 
gaard's view, as I understand him, by a direct command 
from God to the individual. And that is without doubt the 
case with Abraham. But it is not always so. Furthermore, 
everything depends upon what is meant by c the ethical', 
and by a direct command or inspiration from God. The 
duty to obey authority certainly forms part of natural 

1940 117 

ethics. But how uncertain all this is, so uncertain that it 
became necessary to limit the authority that had to be 
obeyed to legal authority' or even to 'statutory 5 authority, 
and to speak of an ethic sanctioned by God. This means to 
say then, that there is also a false authority, a false ethic. 
Do I really need an extraordinary impulse from God not 
to obey, in both cases? I think not. If the lawful authority 
commands me to torture innocent women and children, or a 
tyrant orders me to perform an action in itself lawful do I 
need, in both cases, a special injunction from God within me 
in order to dispense me from obedience, and to act rightly in 
God's sight? I don't think so. It is a struggle in man's 
conscience concerning the universal laws of God and the will 
of a false but temporarily enormously powerful authority. 

428. 23rd November. If I write down something which 
I know full well is valid and true for me, but which sounds 
presumptuous, or dangerously tempting to those for whom 
it is not valid, and whom it may harm, then I may not 
write it down, it remains a secret between God and my 

429. 'Three hundred thousand kilograms of bombs rained 
down on Birmingham today', Herr Goebbels announces 
through the voice of the 'German Radio Mission'. But 
really, Ladies and Gentlemen, you ought to listen to the 
voice! But they have not got 'second hearing', they hear 
and they do not hear. They have no conception of what is 
going on in Germany today, nor consequently of what will 
happen in Germany tomorrow. It is appalling to think that 
something so transitory as the human voice should have been 
chosen to reveal the depravity and the curse of a whole 
people, louder and more unmistakably even than its actions. 
How simple it looks : you have only to listen, and you will 
know everything! But the people listen, and when they 
listen they hear nothing but their own voice praising and 
adoring them. 


430. A good conscience is appreciated, and it is recognised 
as being essential to happiness. Men recognise all this, even 
conscience itself, thinking that no conscience is as good as 
a good conscience. But they over-estimate their strength; 
conscience returns, it can only be excluded for a time, but 
it does not return as a good conscience. 

431. Since the world is certainly not completed, a com- 
plete system of the world is quite as certainly something 
funny. But perhaps the plan of the world is finished, like 
the complete plan of a house that has not even been begun. 
Perhaps; although that is a very human way of talking about 
a world which is, after all, so entirely unintelligible to man; 
and then, pray, who drew up the plan? Man himself, 
perhaps? That is really too much of a good thing, and man 
only stammers out his meaning. Nor is it true that 'Phil- 
osophy' is gradually building a house that will one day be 
complete. That is pure nonsense. It is a house of cards 
that God simply blows away. 

432. The comparison between the hitlerian Herrgott- 
religion and Islam seems all right, but it soon wears thin: 
in spite of everything, the object of comparison is far too 
exalted, and the present filth does not give the producers 
and adepts who consume it, anything like the same sub- 
jective certainty and faith and assurance which Islam once 
gave to its followers, and, still does, to some extent. In fact 
religions, even false religions, come from the East; they do 
not arise in the neighbourhood of Braunau. 

433. Has a single man, in the whole history of the world 
ever known, and been capable of saying what would happen 
in his own country, not to speak of foreign countries, in a 
hundred years' time? I don't believe so. So take care! 
Now that everything moves so much quicker, one can only 
say, take care! The cloud will pass, as Athanasius said of 
Julian the Apostate. But nowadays that by no means implies 

1940 119 

a blue sky. Even blacker clouds may come. The nearer the 
end is, the more probable it is that the spiritual light will be 
darkened, rather than brightened by the passing of a cloud. 

434. I consider Karl Krauss to be a great writer, but I 
should not like to have written Die Fackel. Writing is not 
everything. I regard Scheler as an important philosopher, 
but I should not care to have taught his changing philosophy. 
Philosophy, then is not everything. What is it, then? Well, 
perhaps I can make it a little clearer with the following 
remark: I do not consider Hilty to have been a great 
writer, or a great philosopher but there are many things 
in his works which I should like to have written, for he was 
the friend of God. 

435. The hardest thing of all for a man to achieve is a 
sense of measure, and though it were only a matter of 
getting within a hair's-breadth has any man ever come 
within a hair's-breadth of it, in action? For passively, it is 
just possible, though very hard and very rare. From time 
to time a man is in a position to judge whether another 
succeeds where he himself has failed by a hair's-breadth. 
To me, that has always been one of the innumerable direct 
proofs of the Godhead of Christ: his rejoinders never stray a 
hair's-breadth from the unforeseen and the unforeseeable that 
both could and had to be said the divine sense of measure 
is there in all its perfection, the absolute and extreme op- 
posite of man's want of measure, and of his mediocrity. 

436. The scandal caused by a false doctrine is often 
greater than the scandal given by a deceitful life. As a 
general rule people recognise more easily and see more 
clearly, that a man's life is deceitful, than that a doctrine 
false. It is not enough to say of the priests of the German 
Herrgott-religion: do all that they say, but do not do as they 
do. One has to begin by saying: whatever you do, do not 
believe what they say or follow what they teach. 


437. Astronomers tell us that the empty space in the 
universe defies imagination. But that is surely equally true 
of time? What is the time of the world filled with since it 
was created, what fills the time of every individual life? And 
yet we know that there is a fullness of time. How does it 
correspond with space? 

438. Spirit is autonomous. It is spirit that judges and is 
not judged by anyone else. If man is a spiritual being, then 
he is an autonomous., free being. He could never have 
arrived at the idea of autonomy were he not in himself 
autonomous. But the path he takes to reach it, in Kant for 
example, is mistaken. There is only one way, and that is 
the Logos himself, who said himself: I am the way, and 
the truth, and the life, in one. 

439. Only one man can say convincingly what may after- 
wards prove to have been said by thousands of others at the 
same time. The mystery of this capacity to impress and 
convince is not easy to explain rationally, yet this is by no 
means the same thing as saying that the grounds are un- 

440. There is a specially appointed demon, the particular 
aim of whose mockery is man's prayer. Now, until a man 
has attained the natural and supernatural point of view 
from which to see that the only relation of man to God is 
in fact prayer and this can certainly not come about 
without faith then as long as that does not happen, the 
more gifted, the more 'intellectual 5 a man is, the more 
easily does he fall prey to the 'unanswerable 3 arguments of 
the demon. 

441. It speaks well, I consider, for a man who is without 
faith I consider it a mark of honour, both where his 
reason and where his heart is concerned, that he should 
quite simply not wish to discuss eternal life. Those who 

1940 121 

talk about it all the same, are, in my opinion, thoughtless, 
empty-headed gossips. 

442. There is really too much 'art' in Plato that has not 
become, and perhaps cannot become 'nature'. And how much 
more true that is of other philosophers and scholars. To 
that extent science, knowledge and philosophy is a limit- 
ation, and a danger where the immediate adoration of God 
is concerned. Pascal made an express distinction between 
the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the God of 
Philosophers and scholars, and the most 'scientific' of all 
Theologians, Saint Thomas, explained at the end of his 
system, of which his disciples were always more proud than 
he was himself, that it was mere 'straw' compared with what 
God allowed him to perceive without the method of human 

443. God is inconceivable. All that happens in the 
universe at this very moment, individually and together 
how could a man ever conceive it and grasp it all at once. 
The next moment is already upon him. And to God eternity 
is there, the before and the after of immeasurable time! 
God is inconceivable. 

444. Generally speaking, man is rarely in a mood happily 
to desire an eternal life, or even to be able to desire it. The 
mere prolongation of this actual life is a thing so insipid 
and boring, as to be nauseating, or so terrible as to be a 
matter of unspeakable dread. 

445. Stupidity! Stupidity is the word I wrote down last 
night when I was tired, so as not to forget what I wanted to 
say. Can one ever forget the stupidity of the world? How 
tired I must have been! What I wanted to say was, that the 
real cleverness of the successful lords of this world consists 
in their knowledge and use of its stupidity. The nations 
ruunt in servitium, are rushing into slavery, through their 


stupidity, and a depraved intellect knows how to lead them 
as it pleases. 

446. What is so confusing to man's understanding is that 
God sometimes quite clearly, one is tempted to say quite 
publicly, concerns himself with minor, individual and 
apparently ludicrous things, for example that an old woman's 
jug should be filled with oil; whereas the fate of things which 
are all-important in the eyes of men the destiny of an 
empire seem not to concern him in the least. In the one 
there is a terrifying distance, and in the other a blessed 
proximity. God is inconceivable. 

447. How timely was my reading of St. John of the Cross. 
He has taught me to see many things, and to understand 
much, and above all the Night of Faith. I have already said 
once, in this Journal: in times like these I can only live 
in the Night of Faith; worldly probabilities, not to speak 
of certainties, no longer enlighten us upon the fact that the 
God of whom the scriptures write, and of whom the Church 
speaks, still works his will. Much else, besides, became clear 
to me. In theology so much depends upon the razor-sharp 
distinctions of its terminology. Faith, for Kierkegaard, was, 
after all, almost the same as for St. John of the Cross: 
Night, complete darkness by comparison with all human 

448. The great and dangerous seducer, who does not only 
seduce a woman or a nation into momentary error with 
particular consequences, but devastates their souls and turns 
them away from God is, in Kierkegaard's terminology, an 
'extinct 3 individuality. The events and experiences of these 
times confirm this remarkable analysis over and over again. 
It is always the Teminine' in man that is seduced. The 
devil, therefore, turned first of all to woman, to Eve. Seduc- 
tion always aims at the giving up of the individual will, 
at giving it, or handing it over to another will, to a bad 

1940 123 

and evil will. Where man is concerned, as man, the 
devil's tactics are invariably to 'tempt 5 him to insist upon 
his own will, and to carry it out as against the will of God, 
his creator, as against a holy will. 

449. History shows that, by and large, the Police or what- 
ever it may be, is stronger, after all, than the criminal, 
simply because men, in spite of their corruption, wish it so. 
Even film producers always let the police come off best 
against crooks and murderers, a thing they would certainly 
not do unless that was what the public wanted. It is almost 
a hundred years since Kierkegaard introduced the socratic 
attitude into Christianity. The importance of the step 
cannot be denied. And what result did it have in the 
world? The very opposite. The result was not the indirect 
Fuhrer, always taking himself back, withdrawing out of 
respect for the individual created in the image of God, so 
that every individual should have the possibility and the 
right to be taught by God himself; it was not the maleutic 
thinker, the socratic midwife, helping man to revelation 
and to the Saviour, to freedom and autonomy that devel- 
oped out of his work, but the very opposite: the direct 
Fuhrer, born of a criminal and infantile fantasy, an un- 
imaginable product even thirty years ago, born of the 
putrefaction of the corpse of a rotting nation. Kierkegaard's 
god-inspired thought, c the individual', ended in a typically 
Christian fiasco. It was placed before the world in true 
Christian suffering, with the suffering of love, and simply 
vanished in the 'world 9 , as though it were non-existent. 
But before God it exists! O when will God's hour strike? 
Is it coming? Why doesn't it come? Art thou eternally 
powerless? O God, you let my faith diminish; leave me 
my love! Lead me not into temptation! Me? Am I then 
alone? Lead us not into temptation. 

450. llth December. 12 o'clock. The Italians will be 
beaten, and we with them. The fact that millions of 


Germans rejoice at the thought, and patriotic Germans what 
is more, is the surest sign that the world is out of joint. 
How could I have thought it possible, as a child, that 
anyone should wish and welcome the defeat of his own 
nation out of duty and love of God? Is it possible for a child 
to conceive such a thing? How hard it is, in these times, to 
be a father, to have children who trust one, and how 
melancholy it is to be condemned to silence, for one cannot 
tell them the real situation, because they are as yet quite 
incapable of understanding it. 

451. An Author's rejoinder: I am immune to criticism. 
Either I am so conceited about what I have written that 
it is a matter of complete indifference to me what anyone 
says or writes about it; or I am myself hopelessly con- 
vinced that what I have written is entirely valueless and 
then again, it is a matter of complete indifference what 
anyone else says or writes. I am immune. 

452. That Christian theology is not solely concerned with 
'thinking' is a fact very soon betrayed by theologians 
themselves. Many of them are adept in developing ideas 
and in tracing their logical interconnection, and stumble 
the moment they have to deal with the concrete, or sub- 
stantially historical, with what is not just 'thought', and 
often does not seem to resemble it. Kierkegaard is absolutely 
right: reflection, recollection and turning back to con- 
temporaneity with Christ, is a requirement of Christian 
thinking. And if that capacity is lacking, a man may be a 
thinker of genius, where thoughts are concerned, but in the 
strict sense of the word he is not a Christian thinker. The 
life of Christ among men of every kind and position, is so full, 
so complete, that in spite of the difference between life in 
those times and life today, every man can find a situation 
in which he can in all seriousness ask the question: 
what should / have done in that case? Naturally this 
imaginary test should only be made with the help of grace. 

1940 125 

Otherwise he might despair. And that is certainly not the 

453. The 'author's rejoinder' does not quite come off. It 
would be better to let him say: I am immune to both 
favourable and unfavourable criticism, and what is more 
by virtue of a complexio oppositiorum^ which is what I am. 
I am at one and the same time so conceited about the value 
of everything I write that I am utterly indifferent to every- 
thing that is said, and then so convinced that it is worthless 
that, again, I am utterly indifferent to anything that may 
be said. Yes, I am immune All that, however is unnatural 
and forced. It was not even the whole, immediate truth in 
the case of Kierkegaard. What! And today, 12th Decem- 
ber, 'the hundred and fourth day in the second year of the 
war let loose by Hitler', you still like to entertain yourself 
with this kind of irrelevant amusement? Anyone reading 
that in twenty years' time will be indignant, specially with 
your rhetorical questions. Yet the strangest things happen. 
Perhaps some former Junker from one of the Ordensburg 
will be thankful that at the same time that His Saviour 
Hitler threatened to destroy the world, private matters 
were still taken seriously in Germany. 

454. It is the great privilege of man: he can and may say 
that a father's, or a mother's blessing, when they are at one 
with God, is binding, so to speak, upon the angels. But 
for a man to 'bless' his enemy, must sound unnatural and 
inhuman to the natural man. The capacity to give that 
blessing, in all truth and honesty I mean, not simply in the 
performance of the priestly office, is to rny mind by far the 
highest charisma; it presupposes love of one's enemy which 
to natural man, and this must not be overlooked, is not only 
un-understandable, but also impossible. A Jewish pro- 
fessor of philosophy, no great philosopher, but an intelligent 
man, has confessed that he could not understand the 
command to love one's enemy, given by Christianity, even 


as a possibility. (He seems, therefore, never to have come 
across it, since what is real is, after all, possible). But it is 
honestly said, and I far prefer it to the twaddle talked by so 
many Christian pastors who haven't a notion what it is all 
about. (On the other hand they must, of course, teach it, by 
virtue of their office). The charisma of being able to set the 
final seal upon the blessing of one's enemy seems to be 
reserved to the martyr. The first of these was Saint Stephen. 
Some, but not many, have followed his example. It is hard 
to realise that Christ, still hanging on his cross, blessed his 
people, and not long afterwards St. Stephen did so as he was 
dying. What people can compete with this? The English 
have something of it in Thomas More. And darkest of all 
seems to me the spiritual fate of Germany, for the Germans 
have nothing of it. All those whom Germany looks upon as 
great have called down devils and demons upon their 

455. There is no thinking man who does not regard fear 
as a restraint and a limitation, as servitude and a degra- 
dation of the human 'person', as a decisive lack, in no 
circumstances reconcilable with 'perfection'. Everyone 
would give a great deal to be free from fear. Christianity 
promises mankind freedom from fear. The angels of God 
touch man on his weakest spot with their summons: Fear 
ye not! The means which Christianity offers is love, or 
simply God himself, who is love. Fear is the product of 
weakness and guilt. That is moreover why men's efforts 
to put an end to fear aim at doing away either with guilt 
or weakness. The easiest, the well-tried method, is the forget- 
fulness or illusion produced by some kind of narcotic. But 
experience soon shows how superficial the effects of the 
remedy are, in one sense, and how profoundly harmful in 
another. This short-lived strength is soon dissolved into a 
weakness that is all the more real, and into fear which is 
only so much the greater; a momentary forgetfulness of 
guilt in some illusion or other is replaced by a recollection 

1940 127 

all the more clear, and consequently once again by fear 
and dread. That is not the right way. Work is a better 

way, but by no means more certain 'work and don't 

despair' is really a sort of despair. But both, in the last 
resort, and that is what I must have in mind, if the rule of 
thumb is not to be just a makeshift, or mere twaddle in 
the last resort, neither the power to work, nor the strength 
not to despair are in my power. In the last resort, the cure 
must fail; it does not correspond with the facts of the case. 
The saying is certainly not Christian; it is the old pride of 
stoicism expressed in terms of modern bourgeois society. 
Between it and the Benedictine saying ora et labora there 
is an enormous gulf But just a moment; can a man pray 
at any given moment, in any circumstances, always? I 
admit it is easier to pray than to work at any given moment; 
for that, as you have already said, is not always in our 
power. But now is prayer really absolutely always possible, 
at every moment? That is the very question I was asking 
myself as you said it. Let us see! What, in the last resort, 
can prevent a man praying? Only two things really: his 
free will or death. In the first case man alone is, so to speak, 
guilty, in the second case, if he has not killed himself, then 
God alone That, once again, is stated in too extreme a 
form. You are really incorrigible, as a writer you always 
want to write 'pointedly'. A man does not have to be dead 
in order to lose consciousness. And surely an unconscious 
man cannot pray. No doubt it would be hard for a man 
who had never prayed And what do you mean by that? 
Are we to understand that some men pray unconsciously? 

456. Midnight: Half -time. The news and the "voices! 
God! Listen! listen to the voices and the news! O 
Listen and avenge mankind and the Germans who still pray 
to you! 

457. 14th December. Continuation: Lord, help me! As 
an average man of prayer I do not think it impossible, 


nor even improbable. Think how much the men of today 
admit they do and can do unconsciously > that the men of 
yesterday would have considered it impossible to do, or to 
be able to do unconsciously, regarding it as absurd and 
ridiculous. Only I do not want to digress into protracted 
discussions. The most important thing about the Benedic- 
tine saying is the order it implies, which lies beyond all the 
psychological difficulties, the hierarchic order where the 
first thing is, that in order to live, and so as not to take flight, 
not to take refuge in e escapism', conscious man must con- 
sciously establish a relation to God who is 'omnipotence', 
in whose hand he is absolutely ; this conscious relationship 
can only exist in orare, in prayer, and what is more in prayer 
in the very widest sense of the word, so that ultimately just 
as in his beginning, as a child, baptised and without guilt, 
so in his end, as a man, reconciled to God, the breath of 
life itself becomes prayer, the breath which is not in the 
power of man himself, but is the breath and the power of 
life itself, which God gives to the individual. Prayer is the 
first thing I have to do, and the last thing which I can do 
in my extreme weakness before death. The next thing is 
work, the thing I have to do as long as I have the strength. 
And nothing in this aeon, goes beyond that saying. One 
can only lay down rules for "carrying it out 9 . Even the devil 
can only imitate it. He invents his own rites, and so for 
the rest, there is forced labour. Prayer and work are the 
'proper 5 weapons against fear and dread of life. And yet I 
think that fear, in the form of fear of God, and awe before 
God in all purity, is an element in every 'creature', and 
even participates in the highest love of the creature for God. 
The child, and tlje friend of God, is entirely free from all 
trace of slavish or animal fear, not to speak of the fear of 
hell, and consequently of sin and its punishment. The 
omnipotence of God remains in eternity, and God alone 
has this power. No creature has this power, and the 
strength of all creatures combined is nothing to it. Fear of 
this power is therefore part of the very 'nature' of the 

1940 129 

creature's being. And this power would still be terrible to 
those without guilt, and to those who are reconciled with 
God, were it not for the revelation of God's love, in which 
they may sink, but cannot be destroyed. And indeed, to 
say everything, they could not even sink in the love of God 
were it not that the eternal Son, the second person of the 
Trinity, became man. 

458. 'To make a name for oneself' is the height of ambition 
in this world, and to this end even the great will deny 
themselves pleasure. It is the only way in which the world 
can approach the great mystery of the 'name'. But the 
mystery of the 'name' is really the mystery of 'the chosen', 
the elect, and God alone bestows this name without man's 
primordial consent, and this name is given in the name of 
the eternal Son, whose name is above all names. 

459. There can indeed be no doubt that a certain 
'bourgeois' and 'capitalist' order, as a manifestation of a 
specific period, is ripe and ready to fall, and will disappear. 
But the masters of the German Reich behave as though 'man' 
as God made him, were to be done away with. They have 
already done a number of things which makes this, their 
intention, clear. If they are to be successful, then their last 
days are near. But I am still doubtful. Restaurations do 

460. In the Bible, in the Old as well as in the New Testa- 
ment, there is a want of compassion that, had we enough 
imagination, would astonish and even terrify us, at least 
if we thought it over. The men who are shown no 'com- 
passion' are not extra-special rascals, but just what one 
calls 'men'. In any case, it is not unchristian to be hard on 
the rabble. Only it seems hardly possible, except towards 
'the masses', because it is a 'mass', because there is such a 
thing as quantity. Would it be conceivable where only a 
few were concerned? 


461. The way of salvation cannot lie in melting people 
down into a mass, but on the contrary in their separation 
and individuation. It is worth noting that Hilty, and not 
only Kierkegaard, with whom in other respects he cer- 
tainly had little enough in common, was scandalised by the 
apostles* mass-conversions. 

462. I have noticed that every man, even those who are 
shy by nature, or timid by birth or by upbringing, is, in a 
given case, far more likely to talk where he ought to keep 
silent, rather than keep silent where talking would be in place. 

463. Rhetorical questions are not without interest: can 
one imagine a meeting between Goethe and Hitler? Why 
not? Perhaps our conception of Goethe is quite wrong! 
Time and history transfigure many things. That is true, 
but only up to a point. A vulgar swine remains a vulgar 
swine, and a blockhead, a blockhead. Neither Napoleon 
nor Goethe was one or the other. 

464. The only light upon, the future is faith. Knowing 
is only guesswork, and barely worthy of a man. The 
future is equally dark and equally obscure to every gener- 
ation. And those who are not moved by the gift of prophecy 
should remain silent about the things that lie beyond. 
The safest course, in the long run at least, is always to pro- 
phesy misfortune. And as regards good fortune, to adopt 
the formula of Napoleon's mother: pourvu que cela doure. 
Only those who have the right faith possess the certainty 
possible and attainable in this seon. Those who have the 
right faith, I say, for those who have a false faith are indeed 
in a far worse position than those who reckon using the 
cleverness of this world, its science and probabilities. The 
greatest destruction and seduction among souls is produced 
by the success of a false faith, whether it lasts for a longer or 
shorter period or even perhaps for one or two generations. 
One cannot compare the fruits by which one recognises 

1940 131 

true faith with that which is nowadays understood by 
success. One should rather say that, once again, the fruits 
themselves, the fruits of the holy tree have no success in 
the world at all, and only bring contempt, mockery and 
scorn in their train. The success of a false faith, on a lower 
and superficial plane, often outweighs its falseness, so evid- 
ent to man's deeper nature. 

465. Rare though it may be for a man to be able to pick 
out a particularly plump lie among the thousands of daily 
lies, it does not signify much. The man who leads a really 
spiritual life is the man who has preserved the pristine 
freshness of vision with which to see every lie as an individual 
lie, and to grasp its quality, and to continue in astonishment 
and horror that life and action should be consciously built 
upon lies, instead of upon truth. If houses were inhabited 
by rats, and one were struck every now and then by a 
particularly plump one, that would only go to show that 
one did not understand the situation as a whole. The 
point is that the houses are lived in by rats and not by men. 

466. The fact that at this moment I am completely power- 
less vis-a-vis Hitler well, no one knows that better than I 
do I realise my weakness and know its taste to the full 
and yet not in all its fullness, for then I should be as near 
to the all-powerful God as the martyrs and the apostles. 
Thus I am torn in two; I know my powerlessness and know 
that I am separated by it from the all-powerfulness of God, 
which does not permit itself to be mocked, that 'laughs' at 
that other power, which nevertheless tortures me body and 
soul as far as God allows, for my salvation. O Lord, my God, 
have mercy upon me and upon my thoughts, that they may 
not lose their clarity in thy light. 

467. Could anything be more easily understood, than that 
someone should lose their faith on account of Hitler? 
Nonsense! Nothing could be more difficult to understand 


than that someone should lose their faith on account of a 
mere nothing, such as he is. Well, in the first place, my 
friend, there are many who have already lost their faith 
on his account. That is a simple fact. Nonsense, I say, 
they never had faith, and one cannot lose what one has 
never possessed. Of course, if that is how you put it, then 
the discussion cannot continue. But let us try to look at 
it in a different way. Never remain in a cul-de-sac. You 
express your indignation at the possibility that a man should 
lose his faith in God over a filthy swine like Hitler (and 
our judgment on this point agrees absolutely). Now 
I should like to ask you which is easier: to lose one's 
faith in God when goodness and nobility of mind prevail 
by and large, or when, as is undoubtedly the case at this 
moment, and has often been the case before, evil and vul- 
garity are supreme. Now you are no longer talking about 
faith at all (I never maintained that faith was easy!), you 
are speaking of human understanding and of human 
probability; and there, of course, you are quite right; it 
is not very difficult to believe in God when goodness and 
nobility prevail. But is that what happened when Christ 
was crucified and his witnesses were martyred? Well, I 
admit you know how to defend faith. Faith I have, and I 
do not wish to lose it; God protect me! But tell me now, 
is faith possible, even when the devil alone dominates, and 
God no longer shows himself or manifests himself in any 
way, and is absolutely powerless? That is a frightful 
sophism; for faith is this: that God is at all times all- 
powerful and was victorious over the devil. So you see, you 
have not yet freed yourself from the "thoughts' of men. I 
feel you are right, well enough, and that you are the advo- 
cate of the Most High. But let me be, not the advocatus 
diaboli, but the advocate of man in his weakness, who like 
me, needs the mercy of God. For the ordinary, average 
'good' man, whose eyes are open to the events of this world, 
surely the most difficult of all things to believe in is the 
all-powerfulness of God? Is it not conceivable that one 

1940 133 

might even lose one's faith in the omnipotence of God, the 
Father, and yet continue to believe in Christ; though, no, 
that is not quite what I mean: but, to love Christ as the 
most perfect being, who as love 5 had to pay for his existence 
with failure, because power does not belong to love. You 
are wanting, it seems to me, in balance. A poet always 
Exaggerates'. But one should only and then not always 
magnify the divine, not what is mixed and mediocre or even 
evil. Perhaps the man you describe exists, and he is cer- 
tainly unhappy, and desperate, and we must recommend 
him to the mercy of God, as long as he does not come 
forward as 'teacher', that is as a heretic; for you must not 
forget that Marcion held roughly those views, and that Saint 
Polycarp called him a son of Satan. Our faith is that God 
is the almighty Father, and that Jesus Christ His Son sits 
at His right hand, to whom is given all power in Heaven 
and on earth. That is our Taith'. 

468. Rejoinder: There is one weight which I cannot shake 
off; I can bear it, but I tremble beneath it. It is after all 
our faith that our will is free, and moreover even our 
experience. If our will were not really free, then our 
responsibility to God would be meaningless. And then man, 
whose peace is freedom, would be without dignity or worth. 
On the other hand, our faith is that God determines every- 
thing beforehand Yes, I know, even our freedom as 
freedom. It is the glory of Christian theology, compared 
with a doubtful and hesitant theology, that it draws all the 
consequences of both propositions without the least fear, 
even though, they appear to destroy one another mutually* 
And so they would, for the rationalists, on a single level: 
they simply collide and cancel each other out. But that is 
not what happens in true theology, and the unspotted faith 
of the Church. Here, and here alone, something happens 
which resembles a miracle of the understanding, to the 
gloria del. It is, to use Kierkegaard's language, this paradox 
which is the very truth. There is only one such. All the 


others, the innumerable others, are only abstruse formulae 
or simple absurdities. But there is one formula, which to 
worldly rationalists without the faith is simply absurd, and 
only one, though paradoxical in the extreme, which is 
privileged to be the true human expression of the facts of a 
Christian truth, which simply cannot be stated otherwise. 
But I seem to have forgotten the beginning. I began by 
referring to a weight upon me, to great difficulties and I 
end by almost losing myself in enthusiasm, as I always do 
when I touch upon this theme. What was I trying to say? 
That the idea of predestination always threatens to get the 
upper hand, to such an extent that the thought of freedom 
is borne away by it, however much one may try to stabilise 
it. But perhaps the reason for that is, that the human under- 
standing grasps the thought of necessity much more easily 
than the thought of freedom. 

469. Do you want somebody to read what you write, 
night after night you only write at night, don't you, have 
you ever written anything by day? do you really want to 
be read? Your questions take me by surprise; I never 
consciously asked myself the question, I write so to speak, 
because I am a reader and always profit by my writing. 
But now that you ask me, I have to admit that whoever 
writes wants to be read, and not only by himself. 

470. As a general rule the Germans are far from wishing 
that God should do too much ; they would far prefer to do 
everything themselves. They would even like to create 
themselves. And of course make themselves guilty, that too 
of course, and it does not require a great tempter. And 
then: save themselves! No saviour, not at any price! 'Self', 
that's the man for us! And having done everything for 
oneself, then God must give it his blessing, he is morally 
bound to do so. A German Catholic theologian, following 
along the same lines, managed to define God as causa sui, 
the most barbarous, plebeian theologumenon that I know of. 

1940 135 

471. Any number of thoughts are expressed and written 
down by their authors in the hope and expectation that the 
reader of these thoughts will understand them better and 
more profoundly than he does himself. That is by no means 
impossible. But a conscientious writer would be shy of 
doing such a thing. He wants to get to know a thought 
himself before letting it loose on others. He knows the 
danger of unknown thoughts. 

472. A great many average Christians find it very difficult 
to form any conception of the meaning to be attached to the 
saying that in the house of our Father there are many 
mansions, and that many belong to Him who do not visibly 
belong to the Church; whereas, on the contrary^ those who 
belong to the 'world' cannot understand the exclusiveness 
of the words, and the gulf which separates them. Certain 
forms of Christian existence are normally unintelligible. 
They hang by a thread at every moment of their lives, and 
wander in the abyss of despair, and almost at the same 
moment they feel themselves 'personally' in the hands of 
the all-powerful God, and everything is there just for their 
sakes, and at the same time they are less than nothing; and 
all this is not twaddle or a propaganda speech., but the 
simple truth. It simply is so. 

473. 24th December. In the night when Christ was born 
the leaders of the German people spoke of the German 
Christmas. Can God still be God after that disgusting 
insult to His name? Woe to the sons and to the sons' 
children. Through it all there ran that horrifying pride, 
particularly evident in Field-marshal von Brauchitsch's 
speech: The sea is only England's wall as long as it suits 
us'. God can no longer build walls, if it does not happen 
to suit Hitler. 'God has blessed us' the Field-marshal said, 
and continued: c God will not desert us if 9 if what? could 
it be followed by the one clause possible, since man began 
to pray, the traditional formula: if we do not desert God? 


No, that much I knew with deadly certainty, he would not 
say that e if'; he continued, 'we do not desert ourselves'. And 
so that is the condition placed upon God, the condition he 
is bound by: if we do not desert ourselves, which means 
to say, in their eyes : if we do not desert Hitler, God must 
help us. That is the "proud German faith 5 . It is altogether 
impossible, except to God, to whom all things are possible, 
to teach this German General, in his pride, even the simplest 
Christian truth, such as that an all-powerful God is, after 
all, master of man's will and can lead it like a torrent. 
No, if these principles and sheer pride so evidently conquer 
the stupidest eternal essential truths God has never 
existed, then all is madness My friend, your indignation 
and despair, and your carefully prepared climax, show 
clearly enough, either that you are incapable of keeping 
calm and are not wholly without anger, or that you cannot 
hold out to the end, that you are not old enough to look the 
last things in the face. For ultimately, if the prophecies 
and revelations of Christ are not empty phrases, then 
nothing will change, things will go on as they are, and they 
will get worse. Yes, but God will shorten the days True, 
but He and not you will decide the measure. Well, and 
what am I to do then? Hold your heart in patience, my 
friend, and then : do you not thirst after justice? And do 
you suffer for it? Yes, now I see. 

474. Rejoinder: My faith is no thicker than a hair, and as 
feeble, and what depends upon it is so strong and so heavy, 
heavier and stronger than the whole world. If only it 
holds! Only think, the hair is grace. And grace is the 
strength of God, strong enough to sustain the world. 
Well now, so you are a poet! That seems to be your worst 
insult. That is an exaggeration, and clumsily expressed. 
No, but in otherwise good men, the poet is often a danger 
in religious matters. The poet always magnifies : Magnificat 
anima mea Dominum. Certainly! that is natural and as it 
should be, but the poet is not content to let the matter 

1940 137 

rest there. He must magnify the world, in both good and 
evil, and, alas, himself, in good and in evil, and in neither 
case is that right. 

475. We say that the Spirit of God dwells in a man, and 
we say that a man is possessed by the spirit of evil, is pos- 
sessed by demons : we do not say the contrary, and by this 
distinction we stress the factor of freedom, which is only 
given to man in its full sense through the indwelling of the 
Spirit of God, whereas possession means complete servitude. 

476. My nights are always the same: at first everything 
is dry and barren, and there is not so much as a drop to 
wet my tongue and give it life. Then, somewhere or other, 
a little stream springs up and soon the waters are rushing 
down and the bowl is not large enough to contain them. 

477. Never leave hold of God! Love him! And if for the 
moment you cannot love him, then fight with him, accuse 
him, argue with him, like Job, and if you can, slander him, 
blaspheme but never leave him! For then you will become 
very ridiculous and wretched, and worst of all: you will 
not even notice it. 

478. Children and young people think of old people in a 
way which never occurs to them. When he was ninety 
years old Prince Eugene said to a forester as old as himself: 
we still feel quite fresh and sound and healthy, and we 
hardly notice we are so old. We do not, Your Royal High- 
ness, but others do. 

479. It is a puzzle to me to know why it never could occur 
to me to see anything great in the men who rule the world 
today, and who have 'achieved 3 so much. Nothing. Nothing 
but what is most common, vulgar and plebeian; on an 
enormous scale it is true; but that is not 'greatness'. Whether 
Napoleon's contemporaries felt the same thing about him, 


I do not know. But as far as Hitler is concerned, the most 
I can produce in the way of human feelings is a boundless 
contempt. He is everything that most nauseates me. That 
is one side of it. The other aspect horrifies me, but that is 
no longer human. It is the voice of the fiend: C I will take 
their children from them'. (Hitler, 1937). 

480. Whoever looks down upon the freedom of nations 
and of the person, must be the enemy of Christianity. The 
first, primitive form of freedom is to live according to one's 
way of life. And without thought or reflection, quite in- 
stinctively, nations and peoples fight for this right. It is 
part of nature, and by and large it is right and just. But 
very soon different c ways', whether higher or lower, begin 
to emerge within the nations; they begin to look for their 
'freedoms'. If that happens without destroying the whole, 
there is great progress. But should the development lead to 
anarchy, there may well be a reaction, setting up an arti- 
ficial 'norm' cum fundamento in re of course as being the 
way of life of the people, to which alone 'freedom 5 is granted 
absolutely. That is the case in Germany today. And then 
every way of life which rises above the ordinary is shackled. 
Ultimately it is the servitude, the enslavement of the way 
of life of the whole people, for if one thinks rightly upon the 
matter, one would have to recognise that this way of life 
could never be determined by a single generation, though 
it were the richest in geniuses, or even saints that would 
always be presumptuous. This would be true of animals, 
and even of plants, and how much more of man. Wherever 
there is life there is 'possibility', some possibility remains; 
and one would have thought that nothing was clearer. But 
now look around at what is going on today! Spiritually and 
intellectually how far below the average! Masters filled 
with ressentiment and itching for revenge because they did 
not satisfy the requirements of a certain educational ideal 
(false in itself, or falsely applied), because they could not 
understand the participium absolutum or indirect speech: 

1940 139 

intellectually, then, all those who were hardly treated, the 
ones below the average; and morally, not just the average, 
the crude and brutal, but above all the ones with criminal 
tendencies, filled with hate against God, Christ and the 
Trinity: these are the men who lay down categorically 
what is to be the German way of life, for the whole future. 
And to this end they must extinguish every recollection of 
the past, of what is great and dignified, or else they falsify 
it, or alter it into something base. But one only has to try 
to imagine what it means, in order to see that it cannot last: 
the whole undertaking will collapse, and the end is at hand. 

48L 30th December. Roosevelt has spoken. It looks as 
though at last he knew, or somehow suspected what it is 
about. Though it is by no means absolutely certain. 
Nevertheless, there were moments when he struck the right 
note. The thing is that the fight is not just about democracy' 
it is about 'man*. The question is whether mankind is 
going to seal the end with a lie, whether man ends up 
as swine and slave, whether the 'German' is pre-destined to 
establish the kingdom of darkness in this aeon. As yet I 
do not believe it; or rather I cannot believe it. I am 
frightened; not always, thank God, and the words Tear 
not 3 often echo in my heart. We are going to suffer unspeak- 
able horrors and misery, but we shall be rid of the worst 
criminals of Germany. And so I take it upon myself to bear 
with all that is frightful, out of thankfulness to God, grateful 
that he did not let it happen. But how long, O Lord, 
how long! 

482. Thoughts and forebodings during the last few days 
warn me that I still have long to live, and at the same time 
I have the impression that I am not yet mature. God 
protect me! 

483. I am quite unable to understand a man who merely 
commands his people, and who does not love them, simply, 


naturally and straightforwardly. A man like that just isn't 
natural. Mentally or spiritually he is sick. But there the 
matter must rest: any emphasis on this love, however slight, 
at the cost of greater things, of truth, justice or goodness, nau- 
seates me in my inmost heart. For this reason alone Goethe 
is, to me, immeasurably greater than Fichte or Arndt, and 
Aristotle than Demosthenes whose chauvinistic clique tried 
to mark him down as a traitor to his country. Never, in the 
history of the world, have all the worst characteristics of a 
people been so thoroughly and successfully mobilised and 
utilised by criminals as are those of the German people 
today. And so the German's love of his country today con- 
sists in not losing hope that there will be time to turn back 
to a better 'way'. Love must become fearless : better to be 
reduced to nothing, be annihilated in temporal, material 
and bodily things, than to injure one's soul for eternity. 
I can still remember quite clearly how afraid I was in 
1918/19 that we should lose our name and our place in the 
world. That was a great spiritual weakness. I now know 
with certainty that for Germany to conquer the world 
today would spell ruin. Minister Frank, perhaps the most 
'extinct' of the German criminals, is said to have said that 
Hitler was destined by God to be Lord of the World. 

484. c My words shall not pass away', could indeed only 
be said by the Word of God. No one else, however com- 
paratively great among men he might be. Eternal truths 
must always receive a new body in time. Newman or 
Kierkegaard, or Hilty could and had to say things that 
Thomas Aquinas or Augustine could not say, although they 
said the same thing. And indeed it would be unjust if the 
fruit of their gifts and sufferings were mere superfluous 

485. The consequence of human freedom seems to be that 
my salvation depends entirely upon me, and the consequence 
of divine predestination that it does not depend upon me 

1940 141 

at all. The human understanding that only draws one of 
these consequences, and relinquishes the other, without any 
doubt relinquishes reality and fails in its task ; for man 
is subject to reality, and may not 'spin thoughts out of his 
head, or deduce arguments from mere thoughts, deducing, 
constructing and decreeing. But the human understanding, 
which courageously and fearlessly draws both consequences, 
which is what it must do if it is to remain true to its task 
this same human understanding declares its own bank- 
ruptcy in face of its particular task: of understanding, 
namely its incapacity to do that from which it derives its 
name: to understand. Man does not understand it. Where this 
mysterium is concerned, every attempt to take refuge in 
an approximate explanation is either a delusion or a lie: 
for man does not understand it. And yet there is something 
quite unique about it. This lack of understanding has marks 
of feeling, that no other has. There are in fact innumerable 
cases in which we do not understand facts or real things or 
events. But in all these cases they only have a negative side 
or aspect, so to say, and that is all basta. But the lack of 
understanding of divine truths reached by natural or super- 
natural revelation has, in addition to the absolute absence of 
understanding, upon which no one could act, a further 
position which is altogether transcendental in character. 
The region, the point of complete absence of understanding 
is, as it were, clearly delimited, and any false demarcation 
is immediately felt by a sensitive understanding, and a 
powerful understanding could always demonstrate its false- 
ness by argument. There is so much that is not understood; 
but this one thing alone is a mystery of light, and it is the 
only one in which there is the power of God, so long as man 
does not abandon it in favour of his own poor understanding. 


486. We, as a nation, apostatised on the 30th January, 
1933. Since then, as a nation, we have been on the wrong 
road, on the wrong side. Yet even now there are few among 
us who suspect what it means : to be on the wrong road and 
on the wrong side. 

487. If the Germans alone were to inherit England's 
world supremacy, within the Christian order what would 
it imply? That was not a question worth the effort and the 
work of thinking about. But now it is clearly and evidently 
a matter of Christ, or anti-Christ. 

488. All great poets are androgenous, whether in actual 
fact, as spiritual and physical individuals, they are man or 
woman. Rilke translated the Sonnets from the Portuguese 
well, by and large, but Elizabeth Barrett Browning is the 
greater poet. There are many things which Rilke, a mere 
man, could only translate in a feminine way, which Elizabeth 
Barrett's unreserved womanliness interpreted with a manly 

489. There is one difficulty which has bothered me for a 
long time: Hilty, I consider, was one of the most upright 
of men and one of the truest Christians of the world, and I 
regard Cromwell as one of the most mendacious in the 
history of the world, a great hypocrite, though of course 
I allow that he deceived himself in many things. Now, how 
is it possible that Hilty should have been ready to put his 
hand in the flame, so to speak, for Cromwell's honesty? 
How is it possible. Now, I am not altogether without fear. 


1941 143 

Not that I have deceived myself in this matter, on these two 
points. O no! But I am afraid that I may deceive myself 
elsewhere, at another point. 

490. 4th January. Moscow Radio. A Pravda announce- 
ment: Russia led the world in 1940 In art and science it 
lays down the law for mankind. This will be even more 
true in 1941, and still more so in 1942. A complete culture, 
Russian and national in form, socialistic in content and 
essence. And compared with what is happening in Europe 
and America perhaps there is some ground for this assertion. 
The hour of the Slavs! 

491. The problem of consciousness, its degrees and its 
levels which are not to be confused is full of difficulties 
and confuses the mind. With regard to the three faculties 
of mind: thinking, feeling, and willing, the conception of 
unconscious willing was the one to penetrate most easily, 
and therefore earliest as a result, in point of fact, of a 
misunderstanding. Will was equated with instinct, or at 
any rate explained simply as a development or as a specific 
case of, instinct. But 'instinct' is a biological conception, and 
is completely unconscious. The most difficult to arrive at, 
was the conception unconscious thought, and there are no 
doubt people, even today, who regard unconscious thought, 
as a contradictio in adjectu, like 'wooden iron'! They regard 
thinking as pure subjectivity, and pure subjectivity as con- 
sciousness turned back upon the I, but in neither case does 
it meet the real facts of the case. Unconscious feeling has 
never seriously engaged the attention of philosophy, be- 
cause it has never really bothered about feelings, even those 
which are conscious. Poets, indeed, and the great psycho- 
logical novelists have for some time been telling us about 
unconscious feeling and unconscious sensation. And in fact 
neither our will nor, obviously, our thought can be so hidden 
from us, can work in our unconscious and condition our 
life, as our feelings can. 


492. 5th January. Midnight. The Italians have struck 
their colours in Bardia. Why have I a feeling of satisfaction? 
Is it right? Have I this feeling because I believe that at last 
God has intervened? That His mills are grinding? That 
the house of sin is built upon sand, now as always? Have I 
a clear conscience? Are my feelings free from private wishes, 
free from Schadenfreude, from antipathy and sympathy, sine 
ira et odio? But perhaps that is a fussy, and an idle question? 
Why so? Surely both anger and hate can be sanctified? 

493. There can be no doubt, for a believing Christian, 
that the first rebellion was an absolutely evil action: it was 
directed against God, who is good. This rebellion knows 
neither repentance nor atonement. It is the free act of 
beings originally good originally created good. That is 
an absolutely inconceivable Mystmum. Agnosticism tried to 
evade the mystery which, to repeat, is absolutely incon- 
ceivable to human understanding, by supposing that evil 
did not arise as the result of a free act, but that it was both 
necessary and without cause, from the beginning; that is to 
say, Agnosticism assumed, or assumes it as existing c in the 
beginning', for that religion exists today. At the most it 
allows good, in some sense, to prevail; and so, to all appear- 
ances, they evade the mystery, only to fall into an absurdity, 
which makes both silence and prayer impossible, and 
encourages reasoning. Man's rebellion is a different matter. 
Where man's rebellion is concerned an apparent and 
genuine additional injustice plays a part. In any case 
every rebellion makes use of it to the full; the more despic- 
able it is, the more it does so. It is not merely that in the 
beginning man had to be tempted to sin, and so could not sin 
of himself., by himself; it is not merely this, but the fact that \ 
the devil had to persuade him that something was being 
withheld from him by God, unjustly. 

494. Let me distinguish between rebellion against God and 
rebellion against men. The latter always implies guilt on 

1941 145 

both sides, and indeed very unequally. Naturally, the rebel 
always tries to make it appear that what is right and 
honourable in him rebels against what is wrong and ignoble. 
In doing so he at least concedes the existence of an objective 
order, independent of him, namely that what is wrong and 
ignoble has no right to rebel against what is right and hon- 
ourable. Now in point of fact we live in a world of continual 
rebellion, of rebellions moreover which ought to be, and 
again ought not to be; rebellions, or let us say revolutions, 
which more and more take on an inevitable character. 
And they assume this character more and more, because 
revolutions from below combine rebellion against what is 
often undoubtedly wrong, against the guilt of those above, 
the rulers, that is to say, a rebellion more or less justified, 
with an unjustified e evil s rebellion against right itself, against 
the rights of the natural order and the supernatural order, 
against the natural and supernatural hierarchy we believe 
in hierarchy! (Nota bene. Is disorder a greater evil than a 
wrong order? 'Anarchy' than the organised dominion of evil? 
It is far from easy to decide.) Nevertheless, although these 
revolutions appear to involve the relation between man and 
man and human things only, they do actually in fact involve 
divine things and ultimately even the relation between man 
and God. The most frightful and most confusing things 
imaginable may then follow, and that is what is actually 
happening today: entirely separate and distinct natural 
things which had been hopelessly confused and overturned 
may be restored to their natural order as a result of a revolu- 
tion, at least in some measure; and simultaneously the relation 
to God, both natural and supernatural and revealed, is 
fundamentally and diabolically perverted. For that is what 
is happening. The excesses of individualism which are 
harmful to the community, and the absurdities of an out- 
worn formalism which interfere with genuine rights, are 
done away with, but simultaneously all true religion is perse- 
cuted, suppressed and done away with what may that 
signify? That is, when the very principles of the supernatural 


order are overthrown, turned upside down, or denied? 
But I am in danger of getting off the point. For this is the 
thought I want to stick to, and which grows into a thesis : 
every purely human rebellion bases itself, or claims to rest 
upon a wrong inflicted upon the man in question, or upon 
man in general. Is that correct? I should think so! That is 
the meaning of the great Promethean myth. Is it not true of 
the experience of man, who is and ever will be called Job? 
But is that all there is to say? Is it the most one can say? I 
believe not. Let us look more closely! e lf God existed, how 
could I bear not to be God' Nietzsche asks, expressing a 
rebellion against God that goes much deeper than any his- 
torical revolution; moreover, the motive which he gives puts 
every other motive in the shade. It is of so spiritual a nature, 
that it almost seems to have been the motive of the fallen 
angels themselves. Superficially and at first sight it almost 
seems so, but a more careful examination reveals the whole 
difference between man and the angels. Nietzsche's hypo- 
thetical 'if', e if God existed' is human, and what is more, 
relatively late in date, impossible in a pure spirit like Lucifer* 
The devil can never be an atheist; he can only use sophistical 
arguments to tempt to atheism men of a specific intellectual 
culture and of a certain power of reflection moreover, or 
strengthen them in it; men of a special type, to whom religion 
in its original and immediate sense is something quite 
foreign. Adam could certainly not have been seduced with 
atheistic propositions. Nothing was so certain to him as the 
existence of God. Adam could not have fallen into the sin of 
Atheism. But: eritis sicut Deus (You will be like God) ! That 
fetched him. And why? Because man is formed by God : to 
long to be like God. Man always wants to be like God, and 
when the cloud of madness is upon him, he wants not only to 
be like God, he wants to be God, he himself wants to be God. 
And so it was with Nietzsche, who was already going mad 
when he proclaimed that 'God is dead'. The fact that man 
can go mad is connected with the fact that he can be 
saved. The final escape is not granted to pure spirits; the 

1941 147 

devil cannot go mad. More frequently than is generally 
believed, madness is a last, avenging grace, at the same 
time that it is a punishment. Some men know this ; they 
beckon to the awful guest, and throw themselves of their 
own free will into his strong arms* 

495. It might be instructive to carve up a classical period 
into fashionable little sentences and to illustrate what has 
been lost. There are still a few readers who would under- 
stand, but it could only be a pastime. Their slips of sen- 
tences are like slips of plants; there are no longer any real 
sentences, sentences like trees. 

496. I was very early struck by the thought, and it has 
never deserted me, of how little I myself could contribute 
to my existence and nature. And I drew the conclusion 
that it was far more important for me to meditate on the 
power which created me and sustains me, and can certainly 
dispose of me as sovereignly in the future as it has done in the 
past, than upon the little which I can do, or can do merely 
in so far as that power demands it of me. That is the limit. 
That is certainly connected with the fact that from childhood 
I was of a contemplative nature! What does that mean? 
Surely you will agree that all children are contemplative; 
and that the gift is only lost or buried after a certain age. 
Undoubtedly there is something in what you say, although 
even among children the gift is unequally bestowed, and even 
at play, for example, the distinction between practical, 
theoretical and even contemplative holds good. You are no 
doubt right there. Some States even display their hatred of the 
contemplative life in the games which they make obligatory 
for children, by forbidding those which invite contemplation. 
But then the contemplative life too has its dangers and 
its forms of degeneration. Isn't it better to be active in 
reality than to invent fairy stories, or listen to them? 
'Brooding' is not by any means contemplation! More often 
than not it is just gazing into space, 'star gazing'. And it is 


only the demoniacal counterpart of real contemplation 
which grows in fullness and does not concentrate on a single 
point, losing itself in space. 

497. 14th January. There are signs that firm believers in 
the infallibility of the Tiihrer' are beginning to consider 
him mad, particularly those who have to do with him 
personally. And in the end the Germans will be the most 
deceived of deceivers among the nations, and each man 
individually will point at the other in rage and contempt: 
how could you, you fool! It must have been plain to every- 
one that this must happen. But not one will beat his own 

498. Men who themselves still respect the invisible 
boundaries which belong to the idea of man, and believe 
that they still exist in others and must be respected, can 
allow themselves to be liberal in the maintenance of out- 
ward laws and to mitigate punishments. The man who has 
torn down the invisible boundaries within himself, the 
nihilist, will always be a 'fanatical 9 adherent of capital 
punishment. There is a certain lack of discipline within 
the limits of discipline, that is the first stage; and there is 
a certain discipline within indiscipline, and that is the 
second, demoniacal stage of indiscipline. That is the mark 
of the 'Kingdom of Antichrist* that has not yet come. 

499. The German Herrgott-religion, as I like to call it, is 
not, of course, the 'personal' faith of our Tiihrer' ; to main- 
tain that would be a great error. He is a nihilist, who does 
not know what he believes. As far as he is concerned, 
religion is just another instrument, the best way of managing 
a certain German thoroughness. Among Germans that 
frightful proclivity seems hardly to be touched even by the 
water of baptism. The German Herrgott-religion was set up by 
the Prussians. There is only one people that was chosen, in a 
supernatural sense, by God, the Jews salus exjudaeis, in the 

1941 149 

words of the God-man himself though there are of course 
many peoples who, as a people, have a mission and often 
an exalted one, but there is only one that is chosen. But if 
nevertheless others imitate or try to imitate in this sphere, 
then the result in general and naturally in the individual, 
is a grotesque caricature. Look at the Prussians and their 

500. It lies in the very order of nature, and is a maxim 
of experience, that leadership' should belong to a minority, 
for the best and the most gifted are always in the minority, 
and the best and the most gifted ought, after all, always to 
lead. But that is no longer the meaning of the sentence: a 
minority should and always will lead. Cynics interpret it 
abstractly. The decisive thing is to be without scruple and 
determined to stop at nothing, to have a specifically criminal 
intelligence, and to use it. After all the criminals in any 
nation are a minority. Germany is led by a few criminals, 
and the German mind is represented by a few low types. 
Thus we have the very reverse. But a country ought to be 
governed by a minority which is above the average. Is that 
really so, my friend, is this country not led, to a large extent, 
by exceptionally capable people? Technically, yes! That is, 
morality, ideals and the spiritual life apart. Mentally and 
spiritually, technique, 'the machine', is a difficult problem, 
that I allow. There is at this point a demoniacal interregnum; 
the spirit and soul of man can be devoured by technique, 
and owing to certain other qualities, the German of all people 
is the most capable of living and dying 'like a machine 5 . It 
is possible to reach the summit 'technically', and to touch 
bottom qua man, as God intended him to be. That is the 
fate of Germany today. There is no thought which gnaws at 
man so surely as technical thought, and yet on the other 
hand it is the most human of things. Abstract technique 
is the pure invention of man, and is certainly as far as possible 
from godly thought and from that of pure spirits. Action 
and contemplation can be thought of in terms of polarity, 


so that the one conditions the other, and the being in question 
needs both, and nothing without both: no action without 
contemplation and no contemplation without action. But 
technique is possible without contemplation. Technical 
thought is all-too-human thought, and must therefore never 
assume command. It is an extremely useful and usable 
servant, but it must serve. One must never give it the upper 
hand for a moment. 

SOL There must always have been Nazis, or how would 
it be possible for the Bible to be so full of warnings against 

502. How the tower of Babel must have impressed men, 
before it fell down! How they must have hated, despised, 
persecuted and done to death those who expressed doubts 
or warnings, or even openly declared it an offence against 
God! But the attempt to build the tower will continue to 
the end. 

503. There is perfect tragedy in Vergil's Dido. Shake- 
speare and Racine, to whom the material was so suited, 
must have seen that there was nothing new or better left 
to do. 

504. To the Germans 1941 

Your fame is without lustre. It sheds no light. You are 
spoken of because you have and are the best machines. 
And in the world's astonishment there is not a spark of love. 
Without love, there is no lustre. You regard yourselves as 
chosen, because you build the best machines, the best 
machines of war, and serve them best. What grotesque 
inhuman men! Another race! Not these men, oh my 

friends! Let us create others But how? From the 

Christian point of view there is only one way: to turn back; 
an active remorse. Outwardly perhaps, God intends to 
recast everything on a grand scale, using a new mixture of 

1941 151 

races and peoples, which is the exact opposite of what the 
Nazis want and are doing; the artificial purification of an 
inhuman race, and of a people without sense of measure. 
Can anyone believe in the Christian regeneration of the 
German people? On the basis of human possibilities and 
probabilities it can only be considered impossible. Were it 
nevertheless to happen, it would be a miracle. 

505. Man cannot think himself. He is God's thought. 
And c My thoughts are not your thoughts', is also true of 
this thought. 

506. When the dead bury the dead, the funeral is often 
very quiet. One hardly notices it, and only few know how 
illustrious is the dead man being buried at this very moment. 
But sometimes it occurs to the accompaniment of stupen- 
dous noise, and the cost to the mourners is in hecatombs of 
blood offerings. A noise like Beelzebub driving out the devil. 

507. 13th February. I write almost every night now. 
At the very time when I neither know why nor for whom I 
am writing! Except: for my own instruction and for myself. 
Now, that I can only read with the utmost difficulty, the 
only way for me to learn is to write. I get to know things 
that I have never known; I acquire knowledge that I 
should never have grasped by mere thought, and that 
writing makes possible. And so I write for myself, and my 
own improvement. 

508. The man who acts at once, on first thoughts, will 
make many mistakes, both in theory and in practice; it is 
seldom that first thoughts are best, though then indeed 
in quite a different degree when it is a matter of doing 
something good. One should do it on the spot! The man 
who acts on second thoughts, the careful man, lives more 
securely; he will have fewer disappointments. Second 
thoughts can of course include an indefinite number of 


thoughts. Decision really lies then, in the third thought, 
that outweighs all the others, the first and the second. And 
so right living implies three thoughts. Might they not be 
distinguished by the fact that first and second thoughts are 
almost always 'inspired', and only the third follows upon a 
conscious, logical judgment? Far from it, the third thought 
may well be 'inspired 3 . 

509. I am a good listener and a good hearer: I under- 
stand at once, and clearly. But usually I only know the 
right answer later. And so, with certain exceptions, I am 
not cut out for discussion, and least of all for conversation. 
I can very well remember that one of the most painful 
experiences of my youth was when I had the absolutely 
certain feeling that an assertion made by someone was false, 
and I could offer nothing in reply, or only the most ridicu- 
lously inadequate reply, because my tongue was paralysed 
by my inarticulate thoughts. On the other hand it was this 
very impotence to answer on the spot which occasioned my 
endeavours to attain clarity, and to break up the solid rock 
of my feeling of certainty, to carve out of it logical arguments. 

510. The fame and the historical influence of the schools 
and the schoolmaster belong to the culture of the West; they 
do not belong in the same degree to the East, where they 
do not have the same significance. Naturally, they are known 
in the East, they belong to man, to a certain stage of civil- 
isation. There is a certain difference and a certain tension 
between a Master and a schoolmaster, for a good school- 
master need not be a 'Master' and a 'Master' certainly not 
a schoolmaster. But sometimes they are united in a single 
person, and that is the glory of the West. Sometimes the 
perfect 'Master* is a 'master of the Schools', the perfect 
schoolmaster. The greatest example is St. Thomas. 

511. At times the power of the Zeitgeist is overwhelming. 
Rationalism for exahnple was so powerful that it even 

1941 153 

compelled men who were in essence anti-rationalists, to 
think and speak rationalistically, at any rate up to the point 
beyond which it was no longer possible or permissible, for 
example Pascal, and still more so, St. John of the Cross, 
whose mysticism, in so far as he renders an account and 
a justification of it, is the end of rationalism, exhausts it. 

512. Music and poetry are very ambiguous. Our masters, 
the first absolute apostates of Europe, have Mozart, Beeth- 
oven and Bruckner performed at their rallies, and the poetry 
of Holderlin, Goethe and Schiller recited. They do all of 
these geniuses more or less of an injustice, though few notice 
it. But after a certain point the apostates themselves dare 
not, even for the sake of a momentary political purpose, use 
Christ's words. At a certain point the divine is protected, 
but not so genius. 

513. Since the fall of man the method beloved of criminals 
who need accomplices, because they want to commit crimes 
on the greatest possible scale, has been to involve Con- 
spirators'. By giving them a share in the crime, they prevent 
them from turning away, or turning back. That can be 
learnt from the great historians, Thucydides, for example. 
People are so glib nowadays with the excuse that 'they were 
not there at the time 9 , in regard to anything that happens, 
so proud of 'unbelievable achievements' and in this they 
are right :* unbelievable and not to have been present is 
the correct expression for a conspiracy in evil. What an 
awakening, when the German people awake to the know- 
ledge: to have taken part, to have taken life, to have 
conspired and lost. 

514. As a rule, it is the simplifiers who are the most 
dangerous and the most mischievous seducers of men. God 
and the good are simple, but the world and the good things 
of the world are not. The simplicity of God and of the good 
contains in itself the fullness of all being and of the possible. 


In one sense Christ is the greatest simplifier, for he teaches 
that all the commandments depend upon one : on the love 
of God and of one's neighbour. This commandment con- 
tains everything, and the saints can live according to it if 
they are perfect, else they too must distinguish. Whoever 
is even one step behind this commandment, as for example 
the man who teaches that everything depends upon justice : 
to each his own even he, a just man, sends the world off 
the rails, for man cannot live without mercy. But true love 
is both: justice and mercy. Mankind is one, as the idea 
and creation of God. Upon the basis of this unity, men are 
both equal and unequal. The pathos of this distinction lies, 
naturally, in the eternal. What is more unequal than the 
chosen and those who are not chosen? And yet both are 
men. The whole truth is very much more exhausting than 
arbitrary simplifications. The one calls for Masters, the 
other is the part of bunglers, and the vehicle of power for 
evil men. The world has experienced the consequences of 
both simplifications: 'all men are equal 5 , and c men are 
unequal 5 . A false simplification is intellectually degrading, 
and because it is an impoverishment, it is a perversion of 
feeling and leads the will astray. 

515. Properly understood, the business of a don is: 
knowledge, to bring knowledge of every kind on to the level 
of indifference. Things only become awkward if he wants to 
be the equal, or tries to be more than the man who has had 
to gain or to use his knowledge on the summit of decision. 

516. There are authors who always write pointedly, even 
when they write about things that have no point; and that 
is very wrong, and thoroughly unnatural. The world is 
round, not pointed. Perhaps someone will say: yes, but 
that too is a point. 

517. When men are no longer in a condition to regard 
death, objectively, as something frightful, as a violation o 

1941 155 

the spirit of man, then although they may be able, never- 
theless, to build machines, they can no longer use the Bible; 
neither can they think Plato's thoughts; why, not even 

518. There can hardly be any doubt that in essential 
respects the Church will be driven into a situation which 
will resemble the earliest Christian times. It will be very 
similar and not identical. There will be great differences, 
ruling out any simple copy, and calling for meditation rooted 
in the times, and needing to be illuminated. I mean of 
course the political weakening of the Church. Christians 
will no longer gain any advantage from belonging to the 
Church, on the contrary! And that is a good thing. They 
will also be without influence, like the early Christians. 
They will be so far removed from the world that they will 
not even be noticed, and so not even despised, for in order to 
be despised, one must first of all be noticed. But as in the 
first ages of Christianity, they will be just as close to the 
world, so near that they will be hated, persecuted and put to 
death for Christ's sake. And that will probably be the case 
on a great scale, for today, in the end (at the end), Christ 
is more hated than in the beginning. 

519. Lies have their day. If after a certain time they 
are not driven out by the truth, then it is by another, 
and perhaps a greater lie; but they are always driven 

520. They love power, above all for the sake of power, and 
in order to do harm to their enemies, and the heart of their 
pleasure, is Schadenfreude. 

521. 1st March. Believe it or not! The German Herrgott- 
religion already has its hymnalist. Lehar, the dear man, 
has written a song: C O Herrgott, lass mir meinen Leichtsinn* 
(Deprive me not, O Herrgott, of my thoughtlessness). 


522. A completely mature, thoroughly reflective man will 
not, ultimately, wish to have written anything but his own 
work, not even the words of a master. 

523. Immortalia ne speres .... (Horace), is a magnificent 
poem. 'Humanism' can reach no further. But the perfect 
form is touched by a breath of insipidity, of inadequacy, of 

524. Hitler, Goebbels, Himmler just imagine them! You 
know them after all, you have seen them, before and behind, 
from right and left. Just try to imagine it : they dominate 

Germany, they dominate Europe at this very moment 

and you may not at the risk of your lives laugh. Could 
you have imagined such a thing? But, believe me, you 
cannot do so even now, at this moment, when it is a reality. 

It can only end in blood and squalor, otherwise 

otherwise? Can anyone doubt that it will end in blood and 
squalor? Could my heart or my brain conceal a thought 
capable of doubting it? Come forward then, you monster, 
come out of your dark hiding place! Show yourself. But 
nothing appears. An erroneous suspicion. Otherwise? 
What did I mean by otherwise? O, I know: otherwise 
there is no God and God is not God, and the non-existence 
of God is proven. Otherwise all is confusion and madness. 

525. Burkel, at that time the Gauleiter (the God Baldur, 
of the line of Schirach is Gauleiter of Vienna now) is said 
to have referred in Vienna to c the son of a whore of 
Nazareth*. There is hardly any doubt that he was referring 
to Jesus Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, and that 
the whore was the Mother of God. The matter has never, 
I think, been put so bluntly except by a Jew, which might 
give Herr Biirkel to think, if that were possible. On the 
other hand it is to be noted that Houston Stewart Cham- 
berlain ako put it bluntly when he said that the Father of 
Jesus Christ was a German Legionary! The only difference 

1941 157 

is in the language, the proletarian language of a Biirkel 
and the more aristocratic language of Chamberlain, and 
so in a matter of taste. 

526. A kingdom for an idea, that would bring Europe 
under one hand! But where is the kingdom, and where 
is the idea? The Germans of course think that Europe 
without England amounts to an idea. And who dies for it? 
Germans, of course, who die for everything, for trash and 
filth, as they prove daily; but where are the others? Is it 
possible for the racial idea to unite Europe? As though a 
doctrine which divides, could unite. A Negro is capax dei, 
and can eat the body and drink the blood of the eternal 
Son, can go to heaven; a Jew or a Pole, however, can never 
share in the rights of a German, even though he be of the 
quality of Herr Goebbels or Himmler. Where is the idea? 
Socialism, the equality of man? It is a great idea, certainly, 
which will equally certainly play its part. Without any 
doubt, it is superior to the German racial ideology, which is 
simply the idea of a proletarian romantic. 'Europe without 
England 5 is the German political solution, at the very 
moment when it is explained that England is no longer an 
island. How absurd it all is! Where does England belong, 
if there are no more islands? 

527. It is not simply the case of a man maintaining his 
family by robbery and theft, about which his wife and 
family are in ignorance; it is more nearly the case of a 
man who makes 'his' people 'great' through criminal and 
evil deeds, and makes the people increasingly aware of then- 
guilt and complicity. And if in the first case it could hardly 
be said that the family were blessed, in our case there is 
certainly a curse on the nation. And the nation itself must 
demand expiation through 'conversion 1 , for its salvation. 

528. The fact of possessing power gives a man so many 
of the desirable goods of this world into the bargain. 


Tower' not only has whatever it desires at every moment, 
wealth and material pleasures of every kind at its beck and 
call, it has the favour and the art of this world, and its 
beauty, and if it so desires, and has the sense thereto, the 
leadership of 'culture'. It can decide which philosopher is 
to teach or rather, if there is one about, whether he should 
teach or not. It even has a pale shadow, a phantasmata of 
the three Christian virtues: faith, hope and love. They 
are the insane images of the deceit: men believe in this 
power, hope in it and love it. And that is not all. The devil 
is capable of still more terrifying deceptions. There can 
really no longer be any doubt that the dominion of evil 
involves a simulacrum diabolicum of the martyrs. And their 
blood fertilises the earth of evil. Their frightful oaths call 
the spirits of the dead to resurrection, and they possess the 
living, shout their songs, increase their strength tenfold, and 
are visible in their every look. 

529. Men are more jealous of their sorrows than of their 
joys. As far as I'm concerned you may have been as happy 
as I have been, and have had as many and as great joys. 
But don't dare to say that you have suffered as deeply as 
I have! * Whose sorrow can be measured with my sorrow? 5 
It is right that the highest mark of the elect should be given 
to Mary, the Mother of God. 

530. Faith and opinion. Faith is concerned with the End, 
and in time it is not possible, without divine inspiration, I 
mean where temporal things are concerned. I believe in 
the trinitarian God and his promises. But these are con- 
cerned with the End. I only have opinions about the 
immediate result of temporal occurrences and struggles. 
I am astonished that so many people talk of a firm, and 
unshakeable, and unbending Taith', and can only think 
that they are either lying, or hypocritical, and do not 
understand their own words, or that they are possessed. 
Get thee behind me, Satan! All that is simply stupid, an 

1941 159 

impertinent lie, and the purest nonsense as if I could 
believe that Christ is the son of God, and also believe that 
Germany or England would be victorious. I am indeed 
firmly convinced that at the present moment the govern- 
ment of Germany is profoundly evil, and that the German 
people is exposed to an unbelievable religious and moral 
danger; I am firmly convinced that it will have to bear 
the responsibility and punishment for its actions, but I 
consider it possible that it may be immediately victorious in 
time, according to the higher intentions of God's will. 
I consider it to be possible, and I would not despair of God's 
justice, I would not lose the 'faith 3 I consider it possible, 
but not probable, for even fallen nature has and recognises 
limits to evil, which I hold have been overstepped in the 
present thoughts and actions of the German people. More- 
over, fallen nature also has and recognises powers which are 
good, and they are, I believe, called to full consciousness 
among the enslaved and threatened peoples. It is said that 
the world does not change, and there is some truth in this, 
nevertheless there is a difference, which is heavy in the 
balance: this difference is consciousness. So much and so 
great evil has never been committed so consciously. It is 
the first, definite apostasy in Christendom, or let us say: 
the second, raised to a new power, if we reckon 1 789 * as 
the first in the west. 

531. It has often been loudly maintained by modern 
humanism that the good must always be victorious, even in 
time; and it is in no sense a Christian belief. Where is there 
a single word to this effect in the Gospels? Where is there a 
trace of this belief in the symbol of the faith? It is the 
opinion of modern humanism, itself a heresy, and is one of 
the most dangerous of heresies. The notion is simply a 
distortion of the Christian faith in the victory of good in 
an absolute sense, and in God as the Lord of the world. 

*In case this should be misunderstood I would refer the reader to 494. 


532. There are nations who have the political gift of 
making the yoke which they lay upon others seem much 
lighter than it really is. The Germans have the opposite 
gift, of making a yoke weighing ten pounds seem like one of 
a hundred pounds. An unfortunate gift, when one wants 
to conquer the world. 

533. The feeling of the nihilist is one of perpetual sinking 
and drowning, that of the Christian is of perpetually being 
carried, and lifted up (or uplifted) even in the lowest depths. 

534. 27th March. Revolution in Jugoslavia. After the 
crisis, the awakening of the virtues of citizenship, which 
in the west, and in such a form, were sadly lost. The words 
freedom and patriotism and honour have won back their 
honour. They were hardly recognisable beneath the crust 
of dirt and disgrace and lies. 

555. I am the master of everything I can explain. 

536. A myth need not, of course, be literally true in order 
to be true, in the sense in which myths can be true; but 
when it is literally a lie, like the German contention not to 
have been defeated in 1918, then the term myth is also a lie. 

557. A genuine, essential patience is a divine virtue, but 
it may contain a sort of reflection of impatience, which has 
something attractive about it, and that must not be con- 
fused with a rebellion against God. On the other hand, 
there is also a caricature of patience, made with a will to 
evil and destruction, which out-devils the devil, who is 
fundamentally impatient, the spirit of impatience. 

538. The relation of man to his creator is of clay in the 
potter's hands the comparison has not ceased to be the 
cause of scandal and offence. There is also much to be said 
against it. But the meaning and the passion of the prophet 

1941 161 

can be understood. Still, man is not clay, but neither is the 
potter God. 

559* In face of the true believer, the unbeliever has, 
nevertheless, a sense of inferiority, a feeling that the other 
has something which he has not got, and something which 
he cannot take from him. That ends easily in hate and 
persecution. But when a society dogmatically excludes 
the faith of the Christian, the forms of hate surpass 

540. It is a dangerous conceit to think that one can have 
a 'religion 9 of humanism and of this world, without the 
co-operation of the devil. He is the Prince of this World, and 
refuses to be excluded, although one may only mean to be 
concerned with this world, and not at all with him, who 
does not exist. 

541. Let there be no mistake; and it ought to be said 
with all possible clarity and calm: to hate Christ, is to 
hate God. John, 15, 23: Whosoever hateth me, hateth 
also my father. The German Hengott-religion proclaims a 
God who is certainly not the father of Jesus Christ, and 
from whom the Holy Spirit certainly does not proceed. 
And so is not God. 

542. 6th April. Entry into Jugoslavia and Greece. Gran- 
diose proclamations. Belgrade declared an open town by 
the Jugoslavs and by us Tort Belgrade 3 (sic!) and bombed 
three times successively and 'most successfully' by Stukas. 
The German heart rejoices. It is Easter! The twelfth 
Psalm was written thousands of years ago, but it is just as 
though it were written today, today, the 6th April, 1941, 
shortly after six o'clock in the morning, immediately after 
Goebbels had read the proclamation, and having been 
written, was recited : the wicked walk on every side, when 
the vilest men are exalted. 


543. God is not an image of anything, therefore one must 
not make an image of him, nor any representation. God is 
spirit. He is neither image nor representation, and his will 
is that one should pray to Him, in spirit and truth only. 

544. Time always moves on. One can take a step back 
in space, and in other similar things: but never in time. 
One deceives oneself easily, in great and in small, over this 
curious fact. 

545. If there were no truth in the saying anima naturaliter 
Christiana, if there were nothing in man's nature which 
answered to and called for Christianity, then considering 
how much in Christianity in fact goes against man's nature, 
it would be quite impossible for any man to make a pro- 
longed effort, a lasting attempt, freely to live according to 
it, not to speak of his being actually able to do so. But in 
fact the position is rather that the more harshly and violently 
men lay aside the Christian religion, the more they cease to 
be c men 5 , as God created them, the more corrupted their 
'nature* becomes. 

546. There can be no religion without eschatology. What 
is the End? Eternal pleasure, eternal peace, eternal struggle, 
eternal repetition, eternal progress? 

547. The German is not creative where religion is con- 
cerned : that is sometimes the complaint of the apostates, 
who are on the look out for a better Ersatz for the Christian 
religion than they themselves can supply. That fits the 
facts. Before one can be creative in this sphere, one must be 
humbled, one must give oneself, and through a complete 
annihilation of oneself, pass through a 'death' ; and as a 
rule, the German is much too proud. 

548. In times of danger such as these and I may cer- 
tainly boast that I live in dangerous times the art of life 

1941 163 

consists in being able to circumscribe short periods of safety, 
so that the knowledge and impressions of the danger which 
is quite certainly at hand attains no power upon the soul, 
within these narrowly circumscribed boundaries. For the 
next eight hours I need fear nothing except God, and that 
is a fear full of love: so let us live and enjoy the next eight 
hours in peace, perhaps even in peaceful sleep. 

549. If one is responsible for every unprofitable word that 
one has spoken, how much more so for every word that one 
has written! There is, what is more, no saying where I feel so 
strongly that I am placed before an unfulfillable command. 
There is no saying to which man's reaction, I would hold, 
is so certain: he can only remain numb and motionless, he 
can only keep silent. But Christ will answer: with God this 
too is possible. That is to say, not to speak unprofitably. A 
saint, then, will not use a single unprofitable word. 

550. For a hundred years no one has known how to build 
a church. All the recent attempts are really miserable 
failures; hollow and empty or strained. Perhaps it is 
simply a sign that no more churches are to be built. The 
Christian Church is entering upon a new form, the mark 
of which is not, as it has been for nearly two thousand 
years, churches. The Church lives already, and will con- 
tinue to live in partibus infidelium. And die Church may 
exist in partibus infidelium, but one does not build churches 

55L In the year 70, five thousand Jewish Christians left 
Jerusalem together, in order not to take part in the national 
rising. Traitors to their land and nation, every one of them! 
To a national Jew the spirit of this rebellion could have 
been none other than that of Maccabeus. What did the 
five thousand Jewish Christians see standing between the 
Maccabees and the new patriots who rebelled against the 
foreign yoke? The crucified Messias, the new faith. The 


Jews are the chosen people. As a nation they rejected the 
messias and even crucified him. But those who accepted 4 , 
accepted him to the full. Where is there an example of such 
an agonising break with one's 'country' among the gentile 
Christians? No-one will surely maintain that these five 
thousand Jewish Christians hated the Jewish nation. They 
must have loved it like Paul, or rather as Christ loved it. 
The first martyrs too were Jews. The gentile Christians 
only followed later. Why God chose the Jewish race is 
naturally inscrutable, and why the Eternal Son took flesh 
and blood of the Jewish people. But once this is said, one is 
not completely in the dark. And so through the reckless, 
boundless sacrifice of national pride, and what a national 
pride ! There is nothing like it, when awakened it some- 
times slumbers except the German. Who can hate like 
tl^e Jew? And the Protomartyr, Stephen: how perfectly he 
fulfils the new law, how brightly he carries the mark of the 
Christian martyr, that marks him out distinctively: to 
bless one's enemy instead of cursing him, to love him instead 
of hating him. There are some who have the stuff of 
martyrs in them, so to say, by nature, in modern times 
Kierkegaard for example, and in a more brutal form, Bloy. 
But the latter would have hated his enemies in the very act 
of martyrdom, the former would probably have despised 
them, which is also not right. 

552. I have spoken in these pages of a heavenly impatience, 
as of a treasure within the great virtue of patience. But 
there is also a hellish patience. And really great and evil 
works cannot be achieved without it. An ordinary, natural 
man, even though he may wish to attain evil, and desires to 
possess it, simply cannot summon up the necessary patience. 
Long before it is over, he sickens of it. Face to face with 
really evil men, an ordinary good man can avail nothing, 
though an angel were to come to his help. Who can hold 
his arms up for eight hours? Moses could not do so without 
help. Who can shake the hands of ten thousand men, one 

1941 165 

after the other, not because he singles them out before God, 
but because, on the contrary, he degrades them into the 
'masses'? Who can endure the roar, not of animals, but of 
herds of men, at all times? Except the man who hates God 
and the Son of Man and the Spirit? 

555. The most significant event in the twentieth century 
is the rise of the Catilinian power-state. Nihilism spread 
among individual, theoretical minds, will construct the 
'bonds' which the Great State will take over when c the hour 
of evil' is at hand. 

554. The 'spiritual 5 understanding of man understands 
that there is a qualitative frontier vis-a-vis the divine 
understanding. It is perfectly possible for such a frontier 
to exist without human understanding knowing it, or being 
able to know it (and that is very often the case in actual 
fact); but the 'spiritual' understanding, as I shall call the 
understanding which has made its submission to faith, hope 
and love, the characteristic of the 'spiritual' understanding 
is that it knows this at the decisive moment. That has 
nothing to do with the quantitive measurable frontiers of 
the human understanding, with its greatness or smallness, 
that is. It even seems as if at times the greater the under- 
standing the greater the difficulty in recognising the frontier 
and of living according to it. Among these one would have 
to include the great rationalists, and above all Kant, who 
was certainly one of the greatest intellects. Kant's trans- 
cendental understanding, and his 'reason' are certainly no 
longer the individual human understanding, they are 
human understanding, human reason in purified and sublime 
form. What are 'contradictions' to them are absolute con- 
tradictions and consequently are also contradictions for a 
divine understanding. The great rationalists and Kant, too, 
as can immediately be seen, were wanting in any sense of 
perception for the mystery. There are not x mysteries in God, 
but a quite definite number. There are not an indefinite 


number of contradictions and opposites for the human 
understanding which find their solution in God, but a quite 
definite number, for example predestination and freedom, 
justice and mercy. The spiritual understanding stands 
absolutely by the principle of contradiction and will always 
declare the absurdity and wickedness of saying that God is 
good and bad, whereas, he will maintain that certain con- 
tradictions which are absolute to an autonomous rationalist 
are resolved in God (for example predestination and free- 
dom, mercy and justice), and what is more that it is a 
solution which does not abolish the principle of contra- 
diction. That is certainly a mystery, but not any number 
of mysteries it is, on the contrary, within a definite divine 

555. The final expression of an absolute despair would be : 
it has always been so, and it will always be so. That would 
be the despair of God, for the individual man would always 
be released by death. 

556. A Christian society is not complete without those who 
e have made themselves eunuchs' for the sake of God's 
kingdom, and even outwardly this is true: it would be 
lacking in one of the signs and marks of Christian society. 
Monasteries, certainly, may be the form conditioned by the 
age; but those who defame 'monks' and 'nuns', as has 
sometimes been the case among Protestants, and never- 
theless want to possess the 'true* doctrine, are simply 
castrating Christianity. They deny the spiritual strength 
which makes it possible for a man, even in this life, to live 
as all will live after death. It is not possible to remain 
unmarried supported by 'ethics' and 'morals' alone; it is a 
vocation and a grace and only upon this foundation can it 
become the expression of an ethic and of an asceticism* The 
words of Christ: He who can grasp it, let him grasp it, 
leave no doubts upon the matter. Everyone can c grasp' the 
ten commandments. 

1941 167 

557. The fact that language does not permit of calling 
machines 'wonderful 9 and 'divine' rests upon a generally 
accepted feeling. It is clear that these words cannot be used 
to describe the products of the machine, unlike so many 
products of man's hand, and in particular, works of art. 
The human hand is a wonderful instrument by means of 
which the spirit, and at times even the Holy Spirit, with an 
absolutely immaterial intention, creates the difference be- 
tween a mediocre mechanical work and a work of genius. 

555. The way from God the Saviour, to God the Creator 
is difficult, hard to see, and hard to understand. The 
identity of the two has been denied from the very beginning 
of Christianity, sometimes by men of outstanding talent, 
founders of sects and heresies, and there are many men at 
the present time who feel the same way. That Jesus Christ, 
the Saviour, is at the same time the creator of the world, 
of the milky way, of the earth and the lion, is an unfathom- 
able mystery that many do not so much as notice, and may 
not even notice, without running the danger of losing their 

559. Certain rites among magical religions create an 
effect of being mechanical. And is not the effect of some 
great smooth-running machines almost magical! 

560. To do something for 'God's reward' means, in this 
world, to do something for 'nothing'. In the world 'God's 
reward' is nothing. In the eyes of the world whoever does 
something for God's reward is a fool, and in the eyes of the 
same world, the Christian who hopes to be rewarded by God 
for his good works is a common beast, because he does not 
do good for the sake of doing good. That is the sort of con- 
tradiction which the world swallows. 

561. The really fruitful paradoxes grow on the frontier 
between 'being' and 'nothing', and they are the only 


adequate expressions for things and conditions which cannot 
otherwise be grasped. Movement is the mark of life. What 
can move so fast as a machine, and yet it is dead, a "dead 
life' compared with the smallest plant, which may seem 
motionless but in which there is the mystery of life. 'Dead 
life' is not 'wooden iron 9 . The devil, significantly enough, 
is described as 'living death 5 . He is spirit, and spirit is life, 
the most living life. But he is also furthest from God, and 
nearest to nothingness to death that is. 

562. All our victories are won 'according to plan'. It is 
all worked out 'logistically'. And yet gradually it is be- 
coming clear that very much that unquestionably happens, 
is not 'according to plan'. Or is it, after all, 'according to 
plan'? A fraction, certainly no more, of another plan, of 
the plan of quite another? Supposing, now, this very 
different plan were to be carried out, and it were the plan 
of our defeat! 

563. Even in nature there are so many animals whose 
origins one does not understand. 'That worm-like creature 
you say, will turn into a Red Admiral? You must be mad'. 
But it will; and so a criminal can become a saint of God. 
Not by nature, of course. 

564. 7th June. The Germans who are trying to uproot 
Christianity entirely and are being enormously successful 
in quantitate, seem to think that Christian theologians will 
die out at the same time. But that is a feeble-minded 
notion. The Professors, the professors paid by the State: 
yes, they will of course die out. But the theologians? Good 
heavens, one would think the fathers of the Church were 
salaried professors. On the contrary! Then we shall once 
again have some great theologians. 

565. When someone is successful, he always likes to think 
that everything was planned in advance. But that is always 

1941 169 

an error. The devil was successful, but he had not cal- 
culated that God could become man. 

566, Leibnitz would have stared open-eyed at anyone who 
told him that he, Leibnitz had received his intellect from a 
God who himself had none. 

56*7. In rationalism the only sign of freedom is the fact 
that events cannot be calculated and are in fact 'incal- 
culable 3 : a purely external view of things, and false at that, 
in so far as 'freedom' most unquestionably lies beyond the 
calculable and the incalculable. It belongs to a different 

56$. Men can vdry profitably be divided into those whose 
field of vision is dominated by the things which cannot be 
altered, and those to whom the things which can be altered 
occupy the front place. That marks one of the profoundest 
differences. Great political wisdom consists in rightly 
distinguishing the things which one can change from those 
which one cannot change. As it is, however, things are 
appallingly and terrifyingly muddled. 

569. Abraham must have loved Isaac more than anything 
in the world, loved him so much that he was in danger of 
loving him more than God. And so he had to be tried. If 
Abraham had preferred Isaac to God, Christ could not 
have been born over and over again sacrifices like this 
one are required. If Stephen had hesitated or weakened, 
Saul would not have become Paul, and the gentiles would 
not have been converted. 

570. The notion that the argument of some philosopher or 
other against Christianity could be above my head, that I 
could not understand it, has really never crossed my mind; 
on the contrary as far as the moderns are concerned, 
Schopenhauer, or Nietzsche or Scheler, there are many 


things which I could put better than they do. No! No! No! 
I may suffer from almost anything else, but not from an 
inferiority complex in this matter. Neither Paul, nor 
Augustine nor Thomas Aquinas, nor Newman nor Kierke- 
gaard are 'stupid by comparison with the others', but crudely 
and brutally put, exactly the opposite is the case : though 
indeed I know well enough that the real difference is grace. 

57L 'Scientifically', it would certainly be preferable to 
state the truth without stating it paradoxically. But then 
science is not man, nor the reverse. Science ultimately is 
there for man's sake, and not the reverse. It is human and 
even divine to talk in paradoxes, and to stress and exag- 
gerate one part, at the expense of another part, so that the 
whole can be better perceived. And it is with similar 
methods that a painter brings a landscape nearer to one 
than the Scientific' photographic lense. 

572, The pain I had was unbearable. What does that 
mean, my friend, since you bore it? You bore the pain, and 
so the pain was bearable. When does pain become unbear- 
able? When you die or lose consciousness; and so it is not 
you who decide when pain is bearable, but nature and 
ultimately God. 

575. 15th July. Since the 22nd June the Russian earth 
has been drinking blood, and nothing quenches its thirst. 
Alas, is there any sense in asking what sense there is in the 
world? Where is the peace of God, the requies aeterna? 
What is it, if it is not in life? If it is in death, then it does 
not concern the living! Peace, eternal peace, is in God, 
our peace is in God. In the world there is no peace. The 
'little mother 3 the Russian earth goes on drinking rivers of 
blood, drinking like a drunkard. So God is not in the 
world. But what do my stammerings signify? How does it 
concern me; what have I to do with what goes on in the 
world, so long as my soul is not saved. 

1941 171 

574. Plato considered a certain music, a particular mode, 
harmful. Who knows, and who is to say how far this music 
was merely the expression, or how far the cause of the 
decadence of the Greeks? The fact that a particular music 
accompanies the decadence of Europe, and to musical ears 
actually is that decadence who can fail to hear that? one 
would like to ask a rhetorical question the wrong way 
round; for no one seems to hear it, except a few whom 
nobody hears. 

575 The basis of the German Herrgott-religion is a funda- 
mental pride that will not let itself be broken by God. 
Every nation is proud; but there are differences. The 
national pride of the French is to a great extent vanity. 
It is not for nothing that the cock gallus is the national 
symbol. The cock is proud, but perhaps even more vain. 
There is something delightful about the way in which 
French national pride reveals itself, it is so open, frank and 
free, like the cock-a-doodle-doo and the fine feathers of the 
gallus and like the direct sensual appeal of the dairons. 
German pride is gloomy, hermetic, self-isolated and like 
all self-imposed reserve that is not sealed with the seal of 
God, it is terribly dangerous. It must also be remembered 
that the French, more than any others, by nature express 
analogically, the gloria dei. The French are by nature the 
nation of la gloire. 

576. One can divide the great minds of the nineteenth 
century into those which had and those which did not 
possess the spirit of prophecy. Kierkegaard, Newman, 
Dostojewski had it, Tolstoy did not have it, though his 
natural genius was certainly no less than theirs. 

577. God is in all truth mysterious enough, but the fact 
of his predilection makes any understanding even more 
hopeless than it already is. I can't say I agree. I, too, love 
this or that more than other things! Why? Well, simply 


because it is worth more. But my friend, you are missing 
the point. You are not the creator of the things you prefer, 
or love more. But God is. You don't mean to say that just 
as I prefer this or that work that I have written, so God prefers 
this or that. For how can one of God's works be unsuccess- 
ful? No, at this point anthropomorphism is wicked folly. 

578. How can I have dreamed such a dream in August, 
1941? I, who do not even know what The Myth of the 
Twentieth Century looks like externally, not to speak of 
having read a line of it what made me dream that I was 
interrogated by Rosenberg, and then because I utterly 
refused to answer, because I remained silent (Magnificent! 
as a rule in dreams I am, alas, a coward) was condemned 
to be executed in a most curious manner. By night, in the 
middle of a field, and surrounded by SS men, I was asked 
how it is that I write as I do. I remain silent, contemptu- 
ously silent. Then followed endless tirades on the role of 
the Christian religion as the enemy. At first they said that 
it was a purely spiritual battle. But in the end nevertheless 
it was decided that I had merited death. I was put on to 
a sort of hand-wagon which started to move at a single 
shove, rolling faster and faster towards a precipice, without 
my being in the least afraid. Just before going over the 
edge I woke up, still not afraid, but astonished at my dream. 

579. 10th September. A year ago today the official 
propagandist, Fritsche, talking on the wireless, said of 
the bombing of London: c Once upon a time fire rained 
down upon Sodom and Gomorrha, and there only remain 
seventy-seven just men; it is very doubtful whether there 
are seventy-seven just people in London today'. I already 
know many reasons why Germany will not win the war. 
Fritsche's speech is one. 

580. 1 1th September. On the psychology of the German 
people. People are asking impatiently when the new gas 

1941 173 

will be used, and young girls talk about the e chocolate 
factories* that are being put up everywhere they mean 
gas factories. We shall need very many just people if there 
is to be anything left of our people that can still bear a 
'name' before God and the world. 

581. How capable the German Fieldmarshals are. And 
then they get themselves well paid. They are supposed 
to have received a million each. In addition to all the 
honour! Not to mention the Cross, with the hooks on it. 
The world belongs to the capable', an old German 
saying. But they are just that much too capable. And 
the saying then, is no longer true. The world will not 
belong to them. 

582. The devil was in a good mood and said to the soul 
that wanted to break its pact with him: Tell me a good 
story, make me laugh, and you can go scot free. The soul 
answered: If I were to tell you a story that made you 
laugh, I should lose my blessedness a second time! and 
was free. 

583. Today it was announced that as from 19th September 
every Jew must wear a yellow star on the left side of his 
coat, the star of David, the great King from whose stock 
the Son of Man, Jesus Christ, was born according to the 
flesh. It is not impossible that the day will come when 
every German abroad will be obliged to wear a Haken- 
kreuz on the left side of his coat, the sign of the anti-christ. 
The more they persecute the Jews, the more the Germans 
resemble them, and their fate. Today they are crucifying 
Christ as a people for the second time. What is improbable 
about their undergoing similar consequences? 

584. It may seem very much the same, superficially, 
whether a man has nothing to say, because he has no 
thoughts to express, or because his thoughts are too great, 


too mighty and too rich. But what a world of difference 
between them. 

555. Is it madness to assume that mankind might have 
taken quite a different direction, and that it might have 
been much happier than it is today? When one thinks that 
in the life of the individual the possibility cannot be denied, 
then why should it not be true of mankind as a whole? 


586. Good Friday, 3rd April My God, My God, Why 
has thou forsaken me? How can a man be God after uttering 
these words? That is how the question is sometimes put. 
The son of God in a human sense then certainly, a father 
can forsake his son. But that is to bring everything down to a 
very human level. Is not this Son of die same essence as the 
father? Are these words meant to be heard by the ears of 
man? Since man cannot understand them? Nevertheless 
they were spoken and they express, as it seems, nothing less 
than despair. But a quite definite despair. Some un- 
believers interpret them to mean that with these words, 
Christ gave up God, and His faith in God. But there is 
nothing of that in the words themselves, they are not 
atheistic, they say nothing about there being no God, or 
about God being dead. On the contrary: God is. But he 
has forsaken me! And that indeed leads us out into a 
restless sea of thoughts which only the power and the peace 
of God can still and the Resurrection. 

557. Easter, 1942. In all their impenetrable mystery they 
remain the most human words: My God, My God, why 
has thou forsaken me? The most divine are: Father, 
forgive them, for they know not what they do. The first 
words I can say at times in all truth and honesty. The 
others I can, up to the present, only look upon with aston- 
ishment and wonder, recognising of course, that they express 
the novum mandatum> and the new order, here lived, expressed, 
realised and natural. To be a living stone in the building 
of this new order is the aim and end, but that I can never 
become of my own strength. So there only remains the 
complaint that God had not given me a new heart newly 
ordered; though God knows I long for it. 



588. 29th April. One must begin with the equality of men. 
Then one can and indeed must go on to speak of the in- 
equality of men. The reverse order is full of dangers, and 
leads in practice to frightful catastrophes. To the Christian, 
the thesis is perfectly plain. 

559. 1st May. Cold and snow! The weather is not 
joining in. It is even against us. Science tells us that sun 
spots are the cause, without telling us however whence they 
come or why. How many battles and campaigns have in 
the past been decided, lost and won by the weather. The 
conquerors of the future must see to it that they also have 
command of the weather. And if they succeed in doing that 
then where can you be, poor God! Then what will all the 
superstitious men do, the men of darkness who so impudently 
and stupidly, or stupidly and impudently dare to say they 
see the hand of God in such things? 

590. 2nd July. Power and weakness are mysterious things. 
They may exist in created being without sin, that is to say 
in the innocent and the good, before the fall of man, and 
after his redemption, after the coming of Christ and after 
the judgment, by virtue of the being and the will of God, the 
creator, who is good. St. Thomas says of woman, after the 
resurrection: similiter etiam nee infirmitas feminei sexus per- 
fectioni resurgentium obviat. Non enim est infirmitas per recessum a 
natura, sed a natura intenta; et ipsa etiam naturae distinctio in 
omnibus perfectionem naturae demonstrabit et divinam sapientiam 
omnino cum quodam ordine disponentem commendabit. (In the 
same way, the weakness of the female sex does not detract 
from the perfection of the risdn body. For it is not a weakness 
arising from the non-fulfilment of nature, but is intended by 
nature. And this is precisely what will demonstrate the 
perfection of nature in all its varied dispensations, and make 
manifest the divine wisdom which everywhere creates 
according to a gradation of orders. Thomas Aquinas: 
Summa against the heathen, 4, 88). Thus the marvel of 

1942 177 

power and of weakness, of strength and weakness, will 
continue to exist in a perfectly and indestructibly good 
world, not merely united and harmonised, but separate and 
distinct. It is one of the divine mysteries of the creation, 
and one of the secrets of the beauty of the 'eternal feminine* 
iota pulchra es! How beautiful thou art! The core of the 
mysterium iniquitatis is a very different matter: the power of 
evil and the weakness of good in the world and the history 
of man. Certainly it is related, in a manner obscure and 
impenetrable to us, to the everlasting mystery of the 
separate existence in creation of power and weakness. But 
at the bottom of this mystery, the mystery of evil, there is 
pain and despair: the prince of this world with great power 
and its rightful 'king' hanging powerless upon the Gross; 
il sera en agonie jusqu'd la Jin du monde. At the very beginning 
of the incline or of the decline, there is the Will to Power, the 
power before and against God. The will of the healthy and 
ordered creature before God or where God is concerned, is 
the will to weakness : not my will but thine be done. Even 
the pious pagan desired to be without power before God: 
cede Deo! Make way before God! 'Who is like unto God 5 is 
the name of the most powerful angel, Michael. Why yes, 
of course all that is true, but it does not really begin to 
approach the mystery, for God is omnipotent. Just try 
and think what that means. Only he must have given 
Satan and certain individual men of today power, must have 
given it consciously and wilfully, to bring about all the 
horrors and the desolation of these times. Indeed, it is 
true: the omnipotence of God is not difficult to conceive, 
one might really say, that it is naturally assumed. What is 
inconceivable is all that God allows. My God, My God, 
let me be weak before you, let me be in the wrong! 

59 1. 3rd July. Nemo enim simul miser etfelix esse potest, no 
one namely, can be miserable and happy at the same time 
a sentence taken from St. Thomas, the logic of which is 
surely self-evident, incontrovertible. And no doubt it is, 


where concepts alone are concerned. But where a human 
being is concerned then it is quite a different matter. One 
might even say that this is the point where the man and the 
Christian of today, differs from the man and the Christian 
of the middle ages. Holderlin, always so incomprehensible 
to himself, is not the only one who saw himself in a state 
which he thus describes: Wie so selig dock mitten im Leide 
mir ist How happy I am, nevertheless, in the midst of my 
suffering 5 . Even Kierkegaard, so much more transparent to 
himself, understood himself at moments simul, as simul- 
taneously the most miserable and unfortunate man, and also 
as among the happiest, at different levels of the hierarch- 
ically ordered strata of man's being, naturally. And that 
is the explanation which helps us to reach agreement once 
again with St. Thomas. Max Scheler's recognition of this 
stratification, and his thorough discussion of it, is among 
his finest work. In the sense in which he meant it, St. 
Thomas is obviously right. But men are no longer so 
'whole' and 'complete' as in his day, they are dismembered, 
disintegrated precisely because they lack faith, and con- 
sequently they perceive the dismemberment, the disinte- 
gration more easily, though of course it always existed, for 
there is no such thing, essentially, as a new man. But this 
disintegration is one of the problems of our time, and what 
is more a painful one, and one, consequently, very fruitful 
in knowledge. The really astonishing thing is that St. 
Thomas's philosophy is the only one which provides the 
principles with which to dominate the problem; and it 
almost seems as though schizophrenia were a universal 
disease among modern men. The different realms of man, 
who is quodammodo omnia in a sense all things are rebelling 
against one another. The band which unites them has been 
broken by the fall of the hierarchy of the orders. But in 
spite of everything, St. Thomas's words nemo enim simul 
miser etfelix esse potest seems to me to show that he himself 
was Angelicus angel-like in a degree which the Apostle 
Paul, for example, was not. Thomas had no thorn in the 

1942 179 

flesh. And to some extent that explains why he is so strange 
and foreign to modern man who more often than not has 
not one, but several, thorns in the flesh. 

592. It is the impertinent, as well as the thoughtless use 
of the words 'eternal 3 and 'unending* which embarrasses 
and repels the philosopher in me. In created nature there 
is no such thing as 'eternal* and nothing is unending in the 
strict sense of the word. The creation is finite and that is 
recognised by the natural sciences in so far as they can 
think philosophically; there is an indefinite, but no infinite 
which comes from God alone. 

593. 7th July. As I wrote the date, I was struck by the 
7, and how dark and mysterious everything is, and alas, 
how the Light itself is at times darkest of all. Has the 
immediate future of nations ever been so dark and hidden 
from all and each individually as it is today? That is what 
I meant to ask when I wrote the date 7.7.42. I think one 
can answer the question with 6 no', for they have not even a 
Promise with which to see vaguely into the future. Every- 
thing has fallen about our ears. There is nothing left but 
the Christian Promise, and it does not refer to this world, 
but to the new world before which comes death. Century 
after century Christians have deceived themselves about 
this truth. 

594. 8th July. Nothing that is good in this world can 
claim eternity and immortality. Everything here is destined 
to perish. If there is not something eternal in the very being 
of man, then it is ridiculous to postulate or to expect an 

595. The belief in God includes belief in his attributes. 
No one of his attributes lies altogether easily to hand, in 
such a way that it cannot be questioned or has not been 
called in question. To believe in every single one of them 


varies in difficulty from age to age. Nowadays, for example, 
the most difficult is : that He is all powerful or that he is love. 

596. The Verbum for the sake of which language and all 
other Verba really exist, is the verb 'esse', 'to be'. The Ger- 
man language has a very unfortunate way of calling this verb 
a 'Zeitwort', literally a 'time-word', a word indicating time, 
or else a 'Tatigkeitsworf, literally an 'action-word 5 , in- 
dicating action, whereas it is in reality the word of eter- 
nity, and of being* But it reveals much of the German 

597. The fact that the spirit of Christ outshone his body 
perhaps helps to explain the curious circumstance that the 
disciples at Emmaus did not at once recognise the risen 
Lord, not until their spiritual recognition once again 
revealed the whole appearance to them. 

598. In a really common, evil man, vices which seem at 
first sight to be mutually exclusive and contradictory often 
grow together, or at least tend to do so, for example 
hypocrisy and shamelessness. It is not merely that he is at 
one time a hypocrite and at another time shameless some- 
times the same action manages to be both hypocritical and 

599. 4th October. It seems that we cannot live entirely 
and absolutely without God. As long as we are successful, 
and above all as long as we spread- destruction c on a scale 
hitherto unknown*, then of course it is all our own work, 
our strength, our intelligence, our incomparable genius, 
our planning, our logistics, the home front and the battle 
front; for the dominion of the world, the hegemony of one 
nation, is not God's matter, it does not happen by his 
permission, but is *the work of man 5 . Thus, when it comes 
off, when the success is there, the merit is entirely ours. 
But if, for instance, the weather is bad, if the cold weather 

1942 181 

comes much earlier than usual, unexpectedly early then it 
is Providence behaving to us like a step-mother. 

600. How immensely thankful I was in Church today, 
4th October 1942 to hear the Cardinal's decree read out 
as a consequence of the shameless treatment of the last 
air-raid victims by the Party that, in future, ten minutes 
after the sirens go, a general absolution will be granted to 
everyone who makes a perfect act of contrition. What 
consolations the Church has, my God, that thou hast 
given her! And almost as though with the intention of 
showing us the gulf which separates thy Church from the 
German State, Goring made a speech, to give us courage. 
Hell was opened, like the heavens at dawn. A nasty mess 
of infernally stupid jokes and empty threats the summit of 
which was supposed to be the expression 'then God have 
mercy on them*. But that, and that alone will be fulfilled: 
God will give us grace. 

60 L 21st October. The mysteries of Christianity excite 
various feelings in us or difficulties of feeling (or relating 
to feeling) apart from, and yet related to their intel- 
lectual obscurity. The mystery of the Trinity is the most 
exalted, the mystery of the Incarnation the most disturbing 
and the most moving at the same time it touches us so 
nearly, so intimately. And I can never consider the 
mystery of the predestination of the Saints without a pro- 
found sense of anxiety. Nothing, I think, could alter that. 
And a theologian who was to tell me that he could contem- 
plate this mystery with the same feelings of solemn calm, as 
he would have in contemplating the other mysteries would 
be as sinister and almost demoniacally foreign to me as a 
man without dread. 

602. If Eros is the only power that draws a man up to 
higher things, to higher and higher union then he either 
remains proud or becomes proud: c my name will not 


vanish in ages'. How true! But what about eternity? And 
God himself, the highest, he can never reach. He remains 
so frightfully certain. Suffering is a better way, perhaps the 
only one, for it can make a man humble, whereas Eros, 
whatever its form, can never do that. And one only attains 
the highest, one can only remain on the heights through 
humble love. The Tall* and the e pride' of the angel are one 
and the same thing. Neither eomes before the other. 

603. Short dialogue: I do not wish to be on the losing side. 
I want to belong to the victorious party. 

That is a very human desire, but there are times when 
it is more honourable, and therefore more human, to be on 
the losing side. 

You misunderstand me. I mean that I want to be on the 
side that wins in the end, to belong to the party that is 
ultimately victorious. 

Why do you suppose that I misunderstand you? My query 
is still the same: may it not be more honourable, perhaps, 
to be on the losing side? 

That is a question arising from the despair of unbelief. 
For in the end, Christ is victorious. And where is there 
greater honour than in Christ? 

604. The majority of men find no difficulty in always being 
themselves, that means to say they are always their middling 
selves, and of course middling men. And nevertheless they 
are probably all created quite differently by their creator. 
When one sees them as children, one is convinced of the 
fact; when one sees them as grown ups, it is easy to be 
vexed and scandalised at the thought that God has created 
a very middling, not to say mediocre world. One of the 
principle sources of the slightly contemptuous attitude of 
experienced men towards others. When a man 'pulls him- 
self together', not merely for a particular work, or for a 
school task or for a game (though even that may very well 
get him out of his indifference) but when he does so in 

1942 183 

every respect: his whole self, in prayer or devotion that is, 
then he is never 'middling', 'indifferent' or mediocre. But 
then how rare it is! Just as rare, naturally, as the exceptional. 

605. If God is 'changeable', then man must despair; if the 
world is 'unchangeable' he would also have to despair, or 
rather he would be in despair. That is one of the relations 
between despair and the changeableness, or unchangeable- 
ness of being that Kierkegaard might have treated in 
Sickness unto Death. It is, however, a metaphysical question, 
and not primarily a psychological one. Only the being of 
God is unchangeable, the being of the created world is just 
as essentially changeableness. 'The Eternal Recurrence* 
(Nietzsche) is therefore despair, because it is based upon the 
unchangeableness of the world. 

606. There is some life in the German Idealists because 
they not infrequently contradict their own systems, and as 
a result, say something true. 

607. Is time a child of eternity? Even as an analogy it is 
difficult to conceive. In time itself, in our time, parents die 
and children live on. But if the mother herself is eternity, 
she cannot die, and the situation is certainly reversed : time 
can and does die. Time may be taken back, or what is more 
probable, a new time can be created. One of the promises 
made to us is that a new earth will be created, and that is 
hardly possible without a new time, however unimaginably 
different it may be. But if one can imagine a new earth, 
then why not, after all, a new time, more in harmony with 
God's eternity. 

608. One can always talk best with God. With men, even 
with the most trusted friend, I am always conscious of 
coming up against a misunderstanding or a failure to 
understand, and I even believe that I can understand that 
it is more or less inevitable; almost as confidently as I 


understand that misunderstanding and failure to under- 
stand are ruled out where God is concerned, because He 
knows who and what I am. 

609. The mark of the poet, his gift of being able to express 
his suffering, has degrees and grades of quality; the highest 
degree is to be able to say more by not saying it, than by 
expressing it, and consequently to introduce the right 
proportion of silence: the mystery of wisdom and of beauty. 

610. No one likes to be deceived, and everyone is more 
or less in dread of it. But only too often this dread 
deceives man and robs him of valuable things and 

61 L Fundamentally, metaphysics, in its two pure forms: 
that there is only absolute being without becoming, or only 
an eternal becoming without an absolute being funda- 
mentally, both are foolish. But an absolute being, without 
becoming is nevertheless more respectable than the phil- 
osophy of becoming. The curious thing, in all this, is that 
the founder of the pure philosophy of becoming, that has 
become the philosopher of the 'common man' in our day, 
Heraclitus, was himself, in all probability an aristocrat, 
proud, disdainful and contemptuous. 

612. Impressionism, not only in painting, but in all the arts, 
was the exact expression of the contemporary philosophy of 
becoming, a philosophy of the surface, and of the dissolution 
of the concept substance. In painting the task might be 
set of painting 'running water' as one thing. Disregarding 
for the moment, the different gifts, the different capabilities 
of the individual artists, and the varying degrees of success 
consequent upon these, then in a period when philosophy was 
healthy, no artist would think of trying to separate the 
unity 'running water', and painting water only, or 'running* 
only. This was, nevertheless, the ideal of the impressionists. 

1942 185 

The water that flows is only an appearance, it is really 
well, it is superfluous, an unfortunate remains, that art, 
and 'ability', cannot quite get rid of, which it could not 
quite dissolve, unlike 'flowing 3 , the principal thing, since 
n&vTa Pel everything flows but that, as Hegel very 
quickly perceived, meant: nothing flows. Everything and 
nothing, being and non-being are the same; they are 
identical, and consequently inter-changeable. There is only 
'flowing'. To paint 'flowing' alone, is an insane attempt to 
paint the absurd : the attempt to paint the change without 
the thing that changes. Nor did even the greatest impress- 
ionists succeed in doing so. 

613. 21st December. If a man can say in all honesty that 
he loves God with his whole heart, then he may be sure that 
he is loved by God ; for only the love of God can make a 
man do this : make him love God, the invisible. And when 
was God so invisible as in these times. 

614. It is very humiliating for a man who can do great 
things, when it is made plain to him that he cannot do the 
lesser, the ordinary things that almost everyone can do. But 
perhaps that is one of the fundamental principles of this 
world : in this world the spirit must be humble, for without 
matter it cannot carry on. The pride of the pure spirit in 
its own realm is lack of love and a betrayal of God; in this 
world it is, so to speak, materially ridiculous and a lie. 

615. The fact that an idol was somewhat ridiculous, that 
there was something ridiculous on both sides, in allowing 
oneself to be honoured as a divinity and in honouring 
another with divine honours, belongs or belonged! 
among the distinctive characteristics of Europe; it marks 
the difference of quality, its humanism, and that is what 
made its 'humour' an essential part of its culture, differenti- 
ating it from the East. It appears that even nowadays, in 
Japan, most intelligent men do not even faintly perceive 


the objective ridiculousness of their religion. It is surrounded 
by an impenetrable wall of animal solemnity. That a 
monstrosity, at very first sight so supremely ridiculous 
should not, nowadays, be laughed to death, and reduced, 
by ridicule to the nothing which it is, is inconceivable 
humanly speaking, and inexplicable in Europe, unless one 
assumes the concurrence of demons, and the fact that the 
whole nation has previously apostatised. The catastrophe 
announces itself in advance, of course, in the appearance 
of such utterly humourless, bestially solemn minds as George, 
Klages and Spengler. Once a monstrosity, and inhuman 
behaviour ceases to strike human wits as ridiculous, and is 
not treated accordingly, Europe is at an end; and the only 
judgment left is that of the Psalms: c God laughs at them', 
and that is certainly not comic in time; but it has an 
eternal pathos. 

616. 3 1st December. I am still tempted to preserve or to 
write down the more exotic and revealing blooms of official 
speeches and announcements. As I hear or see them the 
impulse is almost irrisistible, there is a real compulsion 
behind it. But fortunately neither pen, nor paper, nor 
scissors were to hand. And a few minutes later my desire 
had passed. Why? What is the point of it? How does it 
concern me? 'Satires and Polemiks' was written more than 
twenty-five years ago. I am much too old. Satire, when the 
talent is there, is not the work for a boy, but for a man, 
but not for an old man. Not to mention the fact that I 
think this war transcends the individual man's subjective 


617. 1st January. One can already hear the howls and 
the whines of the demons more clearly in their dread-filled 
phrases. It is the last breathless gasp of the crazed man who 
runs amok, just before the end. An official, public call to 
hate! The hate will certainly be found all right, but it will 
not be the hate they intend, and want today; it will be 
different. Hate is the last revealing phase of the fallen 
spirit, and the very logic of dissolution. But it is also the 
dissolution of logic, so astonishing that one hardly believes 
it possible* For example, whoever plans everything will 
win. We have planned everything, ergo we will win. Or: if 
we do not win the party is lost. The party must not lose, 
ergo we will win. Or: we embody the highest virtues, God 
gives victory to the virtuous, ergo we will win. Or again: 
for three years now, God has let us win; it would be 
senseless not to let us go on winning, ergo we will win. Or 
simply; we must win, ergo we will win. Or, simplest of all: 
we have already won, only the enemy hasn't noticed it yet. 
It is our business to strengthen him in his illusion, in order 
that he should exhaust himself more and more, and then 
our final victory will be all the more complete. 

618. Some Protestants get very worked up about Litanies, 
Our Fathers and Hail Marys as being in every case mere 
babbling. Even Hilty is sometimes caught napping. But 
although I see the danger here quite clearly, there is another 
side to the question. Hilty will be astonished, in the next 
world, when he discovers how many men have been saved 
by Our Fathers and Hail Marys apparently just recited by 
rote, and by the number of sins that were not committed 



simply as a result of 'grinding out 5 Litanies. Someone may 
perhaps object that any meaningless rigmarole would have 
done just as well. But that is a great error. Every word of 
our great Litanies has an objective, inexhaustible meaning, 
an incomputable possibility of contemplation : on each one 
of these words there is a great blessing granted by God, 
through those who have prayed them with a pure and 
burning heart. 

619, 3rd January. Once the whole deceit is over and 
the beginning of the end is already at hand then the thing 
will be not to make a false move. Astonishment and respect, 
even though negative, would t>e a fundamentally false move. 
In addition to the feeling of horror and revulsion that one 
feels for the inhuman evil that lay, and lies, beneath it all, 
there is only one possible attitude: riguarda e passa, look and 
pass on. One can look at it, despise it and pass on. But 
above all: pass on! 

But supposing the manifest loathsomeness were only the 
mirror mercifully held up to us, reflecting with exceptional 
clarity and without shame exactly how we look in truth and 
before God? What then? What about our contempt in 
that case? Perhaps the best thing is reserve. Le mois est 

620. In the natural (as opposed to supernatural) history 
of the creation, we are almost involuntarily driven to the 
idea of a 'cul-de-sac*. Certain lines of development suddenly 
reach a point where every prospect of further 'development' 
and 'progress 9 appears to have been lost. They seem to be 
excluded from all fruitfulness they are 'cul-de-sacs*. The 
same mysterious method seems to play a part in the spiritual 
life, in the life of freedom; though here guilt is among the 
causes of the 'cul-de-sac'. One has to turn about and begin 
a new life from the beginning. Hasty conclusions crowd 
upon one at this mysterious point of the 'natural creation*, 
which seem to contradict the plan of God the Creator, 

1943 189 

all-knowing and all- wise. But be careful! We do not know 
his ways. If he is the creator, and the e cul-de-sacs' in fact 
exist, then of course he is the creator of these 'cul-de-sacs', 
but it may well be that the term, which is ours, is only a 
clumsy makeshift for something which we are far from seeing 
fully and correctly, or that we simply interpret falsely, like 
a bent stick in the water, that is not bent. 

62 7. The unnatural style of some writers is the result of a 
secret dread of being banal. But in order not to be banal 
one must not set oneself the task of being original at all 
costs, as they imagine, but merely write as clearly and as 
truthfully as possible, after having first of all overcome a 
certain natural laziness and tendency to scattered thoughts 
for one should of course never write in a mood of 'go as you 
please'. At the present time language is in a condition 
which requires the utmost watchfulness on the writer's part, 
in order that he should not fall victim to it. That was not 
always so, nor will it necessarily be so in the future. 

622. The personal and good style of a writer is the natural 
unity of two natures often the fruit of the very greatest 
art: the nature of the writer and the nature of the language 
at the time he is writing. For these two natures are not 
identical, and the unity is most often to be reached by mutual . 
concessions and compromise. A man may write an original 
and personal style that is bad when viewed from the point 
of view of the language, because he uses violence upon the 
nature of the language, in general and in particular; and 
a good pupil may write a 'good' style without betraying 
anything personal, which he has not got. The great writer, 
however, is the one in whose style both natures have become 
a single unity, which it is not possible for anyone ever to 
separate again. 

623. 6th January. Since there can be no doubt that the 
way to all best higher forms of being is suffering, and that in 


certain cases it is the only way, it is not difficult to understand 
that some people make it an end in itself, at least as far as 
this world is concerned; whereas, eternally speaking, it is 
only intended as a means, and even as a means there is 
something about it which stirs up man's abstract under- 
standing and is always absolutely un-understandable and 
mysterious. To make a means into an end always involves 
perversion, and this is particularly so in this case. The end 
is God alone, which is to say happiness alone. On the other 
hand the significance of suffering as the way to perfection 
is so great that whoever withdraws entirely from suffering, 
if the choice is given him, assuredly forfeits the highest end, 
but whoever choses suffering for God's sake, even though he 
might avoid it without guilt, is a hero and one of the 

624. 'Human honesty', is something very imperfect be- 
cause, among other things, its principal object, the T is so 
inadequately known. Who, in fact, knows what his own 
'I 5 is at any given moment, or when it is in its 'fulness'. The 
illusions and disappointments that a man meets with at 
this point are very great and very painful. 

625. 'Paradox* and 'Absurd'. When I say that as a 
literary medium the paradox is the result of the poverty 
of human language, that is an unequivocal statement, but 
not the whole truth. In other circumstances, however, it 
might be said with justice that it is the outcome of the 
richness of language. Both are but half truths. But if I say 
that the paradox results from the poverty and the richness 
of language, then I merely explain one paradox with 
another and to this there might be no end. Of course it is 
paradoxical, but it is not absurd; for when speaking thus 
of poverty and riches, they are not referred to in the same 
sense. If they were it would be absurd nonsense, which can 
neither be, nor be thought. The paradox belongs to man 
alone, though as a means and a way, and not as end or aim. 

1943 191 

If he thinks that, his mind is diseased. A means and a way! 
Whither? To what purpose? To simplicity and harmony. 
And man, here, is confronted by grades and degrees. There 
is greater simplicity and harmony in man's thought than 
in his words and sentences; the natural gift of intuition 
possesses greater unity and harmony than his thought which 
grasps and deals with it, and the supernatural revelation 
which has been given him, indeed his real Christian faith, is 
simple and harmonious in the highest form possible to man. 
In God, of course, there is neither the absurd (that is 
nothing Nothing) nor the paradox, because he is absolute 
simplicity and harmony. Human science, as idea and ideal 
is the part of man which does not love the paradox and tries 
to exclude it as far as possible. It is essentially rationalist. 
Wherever a paradox forces its way to the fore unexpectedly, 
as it does nowadays in theoretical physics, in the theory of 
the atom and of light, science feels thoroughly uncomfortable 
and will not rest until the rational harmony and simplicity 
of the principles is restored. At least that is the case with all 
the individual sciences which aim at the most complete and 
closed system. But in metaphysics, and still more so in 
theology, man cannot get on without the paradox. There is, 
for example, 'becoming'. What is 'becoming'? Being that 
does not yet exist, non-existent being, or an existing non- 
being? That is a genuine paradox and what is more unavoid- 
able to the human mind, as to human language. There is a 
philosophy, it is true, the philosophy of Heraclitus, and all 
its followers in history, for which 'becoming 5 is a simple and 
harmonious conception, because there is no such thing for 
them as 'being. 5 But this philosophy does not in fact strike 
the whole truth and reality, simply because there is 'being' 
in truth and reality. This philosophy, if it were true, would 
not be paradoxical but simple and one, if it were true, 
true that is according to the classical definition^ according 
to which intellect and the thing are completely assimilated. 
But neither, on the other hand, would the Eleatic philosophy 
of being be paradoxical, but perfectly simple, if it only 


expressed the res, the facts of the case, if only it were 
adequatio rei et intellectus, when it held being, but not becoming, 
to be real. But now becoming simply is 9 and must therefore 
be defined intellectually. That was the task before platonic 
and aristotelian philosophy. And it has no other means than 
the paradox of existing non-being. 

626. It is very easy to explain the paradox with a paradox, 
and thus to define it, but it is not absurd. On the other 
hand the absurd is not to be defined paradoxically, but per- 
fectly simply; it is not the least ambiguous. In one dialogue 
man has been defined with the words, that his 'non-being 5 is 
part of his 'being'. But that is not absurd. Ultimately it 
might be said somewhat paradoxically of God, that it was of 
his 'being' to be more than being, and one might say 'super- 
being 5 , which to man is a paradoxical thought. And indeed 
non-being and 'super-being' are both incomprehensible to 
the mind of man, the deep which calleth unto deep and 
moreover only something more than being, what we have 
called 'super-being 3 can fill 'nothing'. 

627. If the comparison with leaven has any meaning, then 
it can only mean that the world could be Christianised, 
that progress in goodness is possible in the ultimate meaning 
of the word, in goodness and love; one cannot really 
restrict the comparison to the individual merely, where of 
course it can always be observed, again and again. There 
is no sense in denying the effect of the leaven in the wider 
sense. The Christian life of the individual, however, cannot 
become a habit in the sense of it becoming automatic (it is 
the exact contrary!) and if this is true of the individual, 
then it is still more true of a whole nation, or even of the 
masses. A fresh inspiration is always necessary, and 'the 
enemy', with his unexpected attack and his new conception 
of man, (as well, of course, only men in appearance), calls 
upon the individual to make new decisions, to renewed (or 
new) use of his free will. All comparisons taken from the 

1943 193 

physical and biological sphere and applied to the life of the 
spirit, only apply up to a certain point. And 'spirit' means 
that one knows and marks up to what point the comparison 
is valid. 

6*25. 14th January. From the point of view of the will, 
evil is an attitude, a position resulting from an omission, 
a want or a deficiency. In metaphysics, therefore, the essence 
of evil may be defined as a lack. But in religion that is not 
really true. In the last analysis evil is always defined as the 
wilful exclusion of the divine by the creature. The wilful 
exclusion! And then the cause of evil is created freedom, for 
uncreated freedom, God himself, cannot produce evil out of 
himself. He is one, and 'three-personal 5 love. Evil cannot 
be in matter without life and without spirit, if matter is the 
instrument of a free spirit. The summit of God's creative 
power is that he can create a free being, that can even be 
free in relation to him, even to its own mischief. 

629. Unless the mystics receive a direct commission from 
God to communicate something, or to speak of themselves, 
they are wont to remain silent. It is only if they happen to 
live on the frontiers where poetry and philosophy meet that 
they sometimes regain the power of speech. When Thomas 
Aquinas left the realms of philosophy far behind him, he 
became silent. 

630. You said that "evil 5 was a limitation, an amputation 
and that it was "closed 5 , "finished 3 . Would you be prepared 
to say that "good 5 was always 'the whole 5 , "all 5 ? And if 
not, then would it not have to be limited, closed, cut off, in 
this finite world? Certainly it would have to be limited, 
but I should not care to use the words "closed 3 or "cut off 5 , 
not even "wanting 5 ,, though I should certainly say " limited' 
and "formed individually 5 , yet marking the difference 
between life and death, between light and darkness. For the 
"good 5 is always in communion with being in its fulness. 


which is God, however little and poor it may be. And that 
is precisely what evil does not do, however great it may be, 
and outwardly magnificent, like the Reich, the Kingdom of 
this world, which belongs to the Prince of this world. 

63L Justice is a far better maxim in social matters than 
'liberty, equality and fraternity 3 . If all men were equal by 
nature, the social problem would not be too complicated. 
And they are of course, equal, that is the first point, but they 
are also unequal, and that is where justice comes in, and 
where the difficulties begin. 

17th January. If God were love, indeed, but at the 
same time, or rather eternally powerless, would one not 
despair? But he is omnipotent. His saints have never 
doubted that. 

20th January. Human understanding is so easily 
angered to find that things only add up very roughly. 
Goodness is rewarded and evil is punished, true enough, 
that is the simple childish rule. And woe to the nation or 
the individual who does not acknowledge the truth of these 
words and who does not simply accept them as an un- 
shakeable foundation, in such a way that it is a crime to 
assert the contrary: goodness is punished, and evil is 
rewarded. But at times a hasty, superficial look at isolated 
cases: and everything adds up wrong. One can only see 
deeper, and look beneath the surface again with the eye 
of faith. Things only become confused before the under- 
standing, as in the opening verses of the seventy-third 

634. A path that does not lead to the goal, goes to rack 
and ruin, becomes a waste: a means that does not attain 
its end and perishes, and is soon forgotten. In the life of the 
spirit and of freedom, the ways and the means that do not 
attain their goal and their end, and often do not want to 

1943 195 

attain it, put up resistance, for they are often living ways and 
living means, and even the most insignificant form of life 
resists death and extermination most tenaciously. The final 
way out for a way that does not lead to its goal is to declare 
itself the goal, and the last way out for a means that does 
not attain its end is to make itself into an end. And that is 
what is happening to mankind today in such a horrible 
manner: in its ways, \Yhich are the races and nations, and 
these once again in their means, which are the States and the 
Parties. Where the spirit is concerned, nothing can happen 
without freedom, and the half of all the destruction is self- 

635. 23rd January. Literature passes away, and not one 
of the words which she commands does not pass away. 
Even the most famous have their limits, and their effect is at 
last at an end. What is Hecuba to us? What would Hecuba 
be to us without Shakespeare, who gave the word and the 
name a few centuries more life? But the time will come 
when Hamlet will be no more than Hecuba. 'What is 
Hamlet to us?' someone will perhaps say. And only the 
learned philologist will discover what it means, and be 
pleased at having understood it. 

636. I much prefer absolute silence about things which 
with the best will in the world I do not understand, to the 
semi, forced explanations that leave a bitter taste in my 
mind. It is so easy to say God permits evil and what evil! 
in order to bring good out of it. I confess that while I 
understand that, it has never entirely satisfied me. And so 
I prefer to be silent in the abyss of my ignorance, and to 
pray. I fight shy of the famous paradox:/^ culpa, the 
happy fault. It was literally only possible through its 
'success'. It is hard to imagine someone encouraging Adam 
before he committed the decisive sin, and shouting c Go on! 
The guilt will bring even greater happiness with it, than 
you yet know of. 


637. The prophet is a seer and a speaker, he is not a doer. 
He sees, and declares what will happen, but he does not 
carry it out. 

638. God is so very much, and so essentially an artist that 
there must be something wrong with those who despise 
art, even when they are pious and believe. There is 
absolutely nothing in the works of nature that is not 
created as a work of art; even the 'repetition' is the 
highest form of art: every leaf is a work of art. The curse 
of the machine! 

639. 6th June. There is something soothing and calming 
about scientific work, latent in its object. It is, so to speak, 
an innocent science of the works which are wie am ersten Tag, 
c as on the first day 5 . Stars and Atoms. And they seem to 
be so closely related. It seems as though guilt had no part 
in this marvel. The only delicate point is that the scientist 
who participates in life which is itself stained with guilt, is 
not as a rule spiritually pure and purified so that he can 
perceive the divine connections within his special sphere of 
knowledge. Even if he is not predisposed against the faith 
through some prejudice or other, against the true faith I 
mean, he is nevertheless cold as a rule, and that does not 
make a man fruitful. On the other hand it seems to me that 
the more intelligent among the scientists, those who have 
some slight philosophical leaning, and in particular the 
theoretical physicists, in their understandable enthusiasm 
for the discoveries in the field of atomic science, overestimate 
the possibilities and their consequences to a degree which is 
very nearly comic. They behave as though these discoveries 
were not, from the very first, bound within the 'order' in 
which they were made, at least as far as the direct conse- 
quences are concerned. However wonderful the atom may 
be, and however mysterious in spite of its clarity it will 
never teach us anything about the greater mystery of life. 
It may, for example, be a good thing that the physicists 

1943 197 

should approach, in this way, to the prima materia and the 
antinomies and a priori' V which thought on these matters 
reveals, suggests that such is the case but it is another 
matter to imagine that : one day, and no one can say whether 
it is near or far, perhaps a new man will open his eyes and 
look upon a new nature the disciple of the philosophia 
perennis and the believing Christian can only laugh in his 
astonishment at such things. 

640. We are in God, and God is in the Saint, to a degree 
which the pantheist simply cannot conceive because he 
does not know the meaning of the transcendence of God, 
of the Trinity, in relation to created and creating nature. 
On the other hand, to us as nature, the 'Deltas' is foreign and 
distant to a degree that an agnostic cannot conceive because 
he does not know what is knowable about God. 

64 L We live in an age of great mystery: divine and living 
impotence, barely concealing its power worldly power 
already decaying into lifeless impotence. 

642. That is the mark of the great writer : with a single 
sentence he establishes the spiritual level, his level, and 
remains there. Whether he descends to comedy, or rises 
to the height of the ideal it all happens on his level, and 
every word is borne aloft by his fire. 

643. 4th July. The sceptic: 'Really, one can only admit 
and admire how successful your God is in concealing himself! 
You seem indeed to be aware of the fact, and to perceive it, 
which is why you like to talk of a hidden God. Only isn't 
it carried just a little too far? He conceals his existence so 
well that quite clever men simply deny it. One might 
almost say that the cleverer a man is nowadays, in the eyes 
of the world, the more likely he is to deny the existence of 
God. He conceals his omnipotence so well that from the 
very beginning men have looked for power elsewhere 


(everywhere in fact, except in God who is supposed to be 
spirit), and clever men have even called him powerless. 
But without a doubt his masterpiece in the art of concealing 
himself, is shown by your contention that he is love. No 
one feels it in the slightest degree. Love, after all, must be 
suspected and felt before it can be known. I know people 
who have been in the fighting, they were in Russia and had 
their eyes open, and their hearts too. They even believed in 
God, believed that he could be known, believed in his 
wisdom, in his power, in his Will and in his works, but 
his feeling, his compassion, his love and his mercy no, 
at that point they became indignant and hard, then they 
grew angry: at least don't come to me with that story, they 
said. Love is an internal matter, it is rare, and is found 
among exceptional men there is not even a distant analogy 
to it in God. 

I let the man talk, I did not have the answer ready 
beforehand although I have one to which I could then 
preface the question suiting it to the answer the usual 
rhetorical trick of all those who write dialogues, and which 
puts the passionate enquirer out of humour. 

644. All that I know and my whole work rests on my faith. 
To such a degree is that the case, that at times I am terrified. 
All my knowledge falls to pieces and becomes incoherent, 
meaningless, empty, unless it coheres in the faith. 

645. There is a tendency, and God does not seem to be 
averse to it, for the things of this world to be explained almost 
'totally' and purely from the immanent laws of nature, 
from the causality of the causae secundae; and what is more, 
on the whole field of created being, from physics and chemis- 
try to politics and metaphysics. And never by halves. And 
in a sense that is a good thing. And then, moreover, does 

1943 . 199 

that not make natural theology a matter of quite tremendous 

646. The writer's passion is sometimes very great. Even 
in the pale night of dread, he is still anxious to safeguard 
the accuracy of his expression: It is a pale night, not a dark 
night, nor an impenetrable, nor a black nightl It is a pale 
night. And even while feeling the abyss open under his feet, 
the frightful feeling for which there is no comparison, of 
falling 'in itself', falling without hope, falling into the 
bottomless pit, he is still impelled to save the description 
with the true expression : Such and nothing else, is dread : 
a pale night. 

647. Apollo and Christ: that was the synthesis for which 
Holderlin longed. Then came Dionysus and Christ, less 
noble, indeed. And corresponding to them the madness 
into which they both, Holderlin and Nietzsche, fell. But 
how astonishing the synthesis is in the Turin picture: 
Zeus and Christ!* 

648. 'The apocalypse of the German soul 5 is even more 
painful than SorgeFs bilge; it has very different preten- 
tions! To compare Stefan George with Isaias, yes indeed, 
Isaias, is a horrible blasphemy; or rather it would be a 
blasphemy if the man could reach the necessary level; but 
he doesn't. And so it's bilge. It cannot even be called 
'literature', for that implies a sense of quality. And that is 
what fails him. He cannot write a 'sentence'. 

649. Short Dialogue: 'We have gone to war for the sake 
of peace 3 How I love the archer who sends his arrow into 
the plumb middle of the target! You may have hit one of 
the inmost circles, but not the centre of the target. No, 
everyone, listen to this, everyone goes to war for the sake 

* Haecker is referring to the impression of Christ's face on the Holy 
Shroud in Turin. 


of victory. In war, they want victory, and only in the 
second instance all the other things, and even something as 
good as peace. Even Michael wanted victory in the first 
place. I think one must stick to this precise definition, 
otherwise one very easily gets among half-truths and lies 
that weaken and corrupt thought. Very soon one ceases 
even to notice one's own mistakes. 

650. In the name which God himself gave himself, God 
is not 'paradoxical*. He is majestically simple: C I am who 
am 5 : that does not allow of any interchange and reversal of 
concepts', nor of any of the nonsense and falsehood of ideal- 
istic philosophy. In his revelation God is Father, Son and 
Spirit. What could be more clear and simple, universally 
intelligible, unalterable in its being and meaning, incapable 
of being confused. 

651. If the purely human conception of our aeon is pro- 
longed indefinitely, or only the human aspect of our aeon 
is pursued in a straight line (what might be called radical 
humanism) it leads to an ultimate despair. If God is only 
man magnified, as we meet him in history and in life, then 
he cannot save himself or God from ultimate meaning- 
lessness, and the meaninglessness of the world is absolute, 
and the absolute is meaningless. The argument indeed goes 
further: If being itself is radically and eternally mean- 
ingless, the fact remains that the spirit of man nevertheless 
has the notion of meaning, quite radically and eternally as 
it seems. Why? Why ever ask the meaning of anything? 
And that is the objective madness of the whole thing. When 
we say: we do not otherwise ask about something which 
does not exist. The fact that we ask at all about meaning, 
already presupposes meaning; and this in the sense, more- 
over, that we could not raise the question if it had no sense. 
Meaning there is, somewhere or other, and in fact in God, 
only we do not know him when we say all this, then the 
usual answer is : But aren't we talking about Nothing and 

1943 201 

then does it exist? Nothing? And if that is so then it is like 
being. Satan is the Lord, and lies and pain. That is the 
seasoning, the salt of despair that burns for ever in the 
wounds of man : the fact that he seeks for a meaning that 
does not exist. That is objective madness. 

652. For almost a hundred years the function of literature 
has been understood to consist in describing, as exactly as 
possible, how the world looks without God. One after the 
other they have surpassed each other in the art of portraying 
the frantic flight before God, Even when their art itself 
was not recognised as a flight from God that is what it 
was. For it only held to God, at best, in the shriek of 
dread and despair, in its hopeless homesickness, in the 
unlimited disgust that was eating their souls away. The 
tone was irremediably false. None of them believed in the 
Victory' of God. How could they believe, then, in their 
own? And yet it would be untrue to say that none were 
loyal to God, in even those times. But when they appeared 
and spoke, they were often already in a sense beyond the 
world. Where the world was concerned, they were curiously 
weak, mediocre, inadequate, and the literature they pro- 
duced was actually sham. The one exception was perhaps 
Hilty. There there was strength, strength from above, a 
mission, joy, certainty, truth and victory. Keppler was 
only well-meaning literature, and the Rembrandt-Deutsche* 
were all too German. They were never consumed by the 
eternal flame. They could only relate how once upon 
a time ..... 

653. The qualities in man which make him a soldier 
also serve to make him a Christian, because the soldier 

* Keppler, Bishop of Rottenburg. Rembrandt als Erzieher, published 
anonymously " von einem Deutschen }> . Its many admirers were 
called " Rembrandt-Deutsche ". The book sought to counteract the 
''scientific culture" of the period, and was vaguely Christian, though 
owing much to Nietzsche. 


understands better than others, by nature in fact, and by 
training, one particular element in the service of God : obedi- 
ence. In the creature's relation to God, his relation as being 
and as acting, there is no substitute for obedience, except 
the perfect love of God's saints. What a show of sentiment 
the poet in a man puts up, how many intellectual difficulties 
the philosopher in him thinks he has to solve before obeying 
an order from God! The soldier in a man may be a great 
help towards Christian obedience. Women do not need it 
in the same way; by nature and out of love, women are 
closer to obedience: woman is humbler. 

654. Sic transit gloria mundi transit yes, but the gloria mundi 
is not nothing. Nothing that is the symbol of a divine being, 
is nothing. We are not nihilists but 'hierarchists'. 

55. In recent times it seems as though the Germans had 
chosen madmen, men who quite simply went mad, and 
consecrated them, raised men like Nietzsche and Holderlin 
to the level of prophets, heroes, saints and wise men, and 
made idols of them. Are the Germans blind to the fact, or 
do they think it perfectly normal? Have they no after 
thoughts? Has it ever happened before? Even in Germany? 
Does it occur among other nations? I know of no other 
example. In recent times other nations have at the most 
acclaimed a number of staggering idiots as great men. 
But have they made lunatics into founders of religion? 
Surely only the Germans do that; and they are mad them- 
selves, they are mortally sick. 

656. The spiritual man is indeed something other than the 
intellectual man, though naturally presupposing and in- 
cluding him: he has a whole dimension more, he is the 
complete man, according to the idea of God, a perfect unity, 
an incomparable totality, desired by God, and, as anima 
naturaliter Christiana, longed for by man. The spiritual man 
is the opponent of the gnosticism and 'idealism' in German 

1943 203 

philosophy, after all only a sort of watered down gnosticism. 
Only the spiritual man understands the 'holiness 5 of the 
body. An embrace can never be holy to the gnostic. And 
those who do not want to insult the creator, should be care- 
ful not to insult his creation. The Christian is the 'enemy' 
of the 'world', the world in inverted commas. And that is 
by no means the 'pure 5 creation of God, but the product 
of fallen man and fallen angels. The world in this sense, the 
'world 9 in inverted commas, and the man who belongs to it, 
one might even say 'man' in inverted commas, the am- 
biguous fudge of good and evil, wanting in all decision, and 
incapable of saying 'no' to anything, is consequently danger- 
ous: this 'world' and this 'man' have evil in them, meta- 
physically speaking, as nihilism. The 'man' corresponding 
to the 'world', sometimes impertinently called natural man, 
as though he were the product of uncorrupted nature, which 
exists only in the Immaculate, this 'man', outside Chris- 
tianity, necessarily has in his Art a certain nihilism of 
feeling. Even love sings and murmurs a melodious Nothing, 
like Tristan, he has a nihilistic, devastating philosophy once 
away from the privileged philosophy of being of Aristotle 
and Plato; he has a nihilistic politics, an apostate politics, 
because his will is nihilistic and does not will the true end, 
which is God alone. And it is perfectly normal, perfectly 
in order that the three faculties proper to the spirit of man, 
thought, feeling, will, should each have their part in the 
dangerous, almost mortal illness of being in this 'world', 
this 'world' in inverted commas. 

657. 5th November. We, too, smile at the arguments of 
our natural reason for the truth of our supernatural faith; 
we can, and of course do smile at them, though not quite 
in the same way as others may do, for we do it with humour. 
We see the point. It is not as though we simply regarded our 
arguments as worse than theirs, or as though we thought 
their arguments better, or unanswerable. That would be a 
great mistake on their part. O no! And in the end, after 


much has been said, we have our faith, and not by virtue 
of our own reason. That> you see, is our secret, the secret 
you do not understand. That is our transcendent, eternal 

*We want eternal life 3 , you once said, solemnly. But 
I think there are times when you have no wish to live at 
all, and certainly renounce an eternal life, for what more 
voluptuous consolation could there be than the fact that 
there was no eternal life if all were over? Why do you 
lie? Take it calmly, my friend, I am not lying. What? 
Are you denying that you have such moments? No, I don't 
deny it. But I am a man and weak; in fact I am not always 
I, and I might almost say that I am seldom I, I am only 
half, or a quarter or not at all myself. I am often tepid, 
worthy of being 'spewed out*. And then I have neither 
the right faith, nor the right hope, and anything but 
the right love. But when in truth I love God with my 
whole heart, and with my whole mind, how should I not 
have a burning desire to live eternally? How should I lie 
when I say: c We want an eternal life'. Is God not eternal, 
and is love not eternal? But God is love. And He is 

659. Why has dread now departed, the frightful dread? 
As I knew: I myself could do nothing against it; it could 
only be taken from me. 

660. There is an art which is evil, but even then it is 'Art', 
art that comes from God. 

#67. If the designation 'spiritual man' means, in the first 
instance of course, that man is 'planned as spirit', which 
means to say that he has within him the life of the spirit, 
and of the Holy Spirit, and acknowleges its primacy, it 
implies here, in all its fulness, in its totality, the man who 
has a body, in the original, real sense of revelation, so that 

1943 205 

in eternity, in the fulness of his spiritual life he will not be 
without a body. 

662. Even in the West, Christian theology has shown a 
certain cowardice, and a wretched want of understanding 
of the munificence with which God has endowed created 
and creative nature and the world with power and energy 
of its own; and the testimony of history to the fight of 
the Church against the natural sciences, and its represent- 
atives, and their great discoveries is one that shames us. 
It arose from a great fear that the natural laws might lead 
to a proof of the non-existence of God. That is its only, all 
too human, excuse. 

663. God alone is eternal. God alone is all his attributes, 
but certain ones belong to him absolutely alone. He alone 
is Creator. He alone is all-powerful. God alone is eternal. 
He can annihilate. He can annihilate after aeons. His majesty 
is terrible. He is eternal. He alone. 

664. Without time, humour is unthinkable; yet it belongs 
to the things that are unthinkable without eternity. And 
that is saying a great deal, for most things belong to time 
only. Humour in eternity is hardly conceivable, but in 
eternity faith and hope will also cease to be. 

665. There are some liturgists so rabid that they are 
idiotic. They really behave as though Christ came into 
the world to found a liturgical movement. 

666. Hail to the glorious, happy voice of the announcer 
of the 'German Mission 3 : it explains everything as a victory, 
or at least as being like a victory, even defeat. 

67. It is by no means so simple to establish error invincibilis, 
and accuracy, here, is essential. It is only valid absolutely; 
the slightest trace of relativity annuls it and brings it within 
the possibility of guilt. 


668. The relation of eternity to time is simply not to be 
expressed in essence in human speech, because language, 
even more than thought, is temporal. 

669. 1 saw in secret a man flowing with the tears of thought 
and repentance, and inwardly he shone like a young tree 
with all the blossom of May upon it. 

670. ad Temptations * and finally the image of all 

images, of all worlds and aeons and of eternity itself, that 
must always be spoken of, that all must speak of since the 
Revelation, because it is inexhaustible in its being, and 
indescribable in its meaning: the cross. 

671. Suddenly woken from sleep, I remembered a rare 
pleasure an interrupted dream: it was an interesting 
discussion of a theological theme that had bothered me the 
previous dsy. I was delighted to have dreamed of such 
things. My Lord and my God, if I think of you night and 
day am I not in your hands? Is it not a sign that you 
think of me? 

* 'The Temptations of Christ', Haecker's meditation on the temptations 
of Christ as the symbol of history. Published 1944. 


6*72. Whether they are really the horrifying scoundrels they 
undoubtedly are, or the unimaginable and for ever indes- 
cribable blockheads that, equally undoubtedly, they are 
has always been, and still is a tormenting dilemma which 
it is hard to answer clearly. Now we know, in point of 
fact, that they become quite disproportionately more excited 
and angry at being called the unimaginable, and for ever 
indescribable blockheads they undoubtedly are, and can be 
proved to be, than at being called the horrifying scoundrels 
they quite as undoubtedly are, and can be proved to be. 
This fact would appear to lead to the conclusion that they 
are the unimaginable blockheads they are, rather than the 
horrible swine they nevertheless continue to be, and in a 
far more profound degree, and to a much greater extent. And 
this conclusion corresponds to the last aspect of the Saviour 
on the Gross : Forgive them, for they know not what they do. 
Their desire to rend to pieces anyone who calls them the 
unimaginable blockheads they undoubtedly are, cannot be 
accounted for by the fact that they really are blockheads, 
for if this were so, then we should, on the contrary, have to 
conclude that they were horrible scoundrels. But no, they 
are primarily unimaginable fools because they do not see it, 
and regard themselves as unbelievably clever, always pre- 
ferring a criminal act to a folly. Their general teaching, which 
can hardly be kept secret any longer runs thus : cleverness 
means to do evil and go unpunished, and what is more this 
holds good metaphysically, before God. And the fact that 
they believe it, is the ultimate source of their ultimate 



unspeakable stupidity. There is not a single soul praying for 
them, and they do not know that their cause is consequently 
lost irretrievably. They cannot pray themselves, that I can 
understand, and it is understandable, for in the first place 
they do not want to. But not have a single soul praying for 
them, not one soul before God, praying for their cause, 
not one who dares to pray for it even well, that is their 
death sentence. 

673. With the help of the axiom that the love of God is 
always greater than the love of man, the love of the creature, 
I can master the difficulties which the eternity of hell 
presents to me. I include belief in the eternity of hell, so to 
speak, in my belief in the love of God, in which I believe 
unshakeably. Belief in the eternity of hell does not offer 
my understanding any difficulty^ the understanding, I 
would even say, as long as it recognises everything imper- 
sonally, and above all the essence of freedom and of 
obedience, and of justice; it is not contradictory But 
where love is concerned! There are very many who have 
never got to the end of it, and nor should I, without the 
axiom in question. The axiom is incontrovertible, logically, 
intellectually and, of course, to love. What could be more 
true, more clear, more just and blessed, than that the love 
of God is always greater than the love of man? 

674. The gate to the knowledge of our salvation, too, is a 
narrow gate, as long as one is in via. And unless the Angel 
of God leads you, you will go astray. Self-faith, self-con- 
fidence, jtf/f-knowledge, all these are bad and dangerous 
leaders. You must learn to curb your curiosity. 

675. Men are so often made unspeakably unhappy by 
looking in the wrong direction. They make the great 
sacrifice that their eternal salvation, that is God, requires. 
But they fix their gaze upon the sacrifice, as though hypno- 
tised. And in that way it grows to giant proportions, and 

1944 209 

becomes unendurable. But God is surely 'more* than any 
sacrifice, however great the sacrifice may be, and one look 
at God, in exchange for that almost hypnotic gaze, will 
often save a man from torture. 

676. How thoroughly mediocre is the rationalistic notion 
that man's sacrifice to the Gods, or to God is man's dis- 
covery, an invention prompted by his fear and dread. 
Oh no! Sacrifice is primarily God's idea, and even that is 
saying too little, it is a mode of God's being, so to speak, for 
ever and ever, and therefore had to enter into time. God's 
sacrifice of himself is the overflowing of his Being. 

677. Quite openly, God works in secret; and without 
deceiving, He deceives His enemies. That has always been 
so, and it is also always true of men that they see without 
seeing, and that they hear without hearing and understand 
without understanding. And anyone who sees and under- 
stands that for the first time thinks he is the first to do so 
the impression is so immediate and overwhelming. 

675. What a curious change of scene : to make doubt the 
starting point of philosophy, instead of the sense of wonder. 
A revolution, not only in thought, but also and perhaps 
primarily, fundamentally, in feeling. And probably too, 
a revolution in the will. 

679. More than half of life consists in waiting for a 
particular moment in time, often purely abstract waiting 
to be twenty years old. For an uncertain, insignificant 
accomplishment in time. And finally for death. Waiting 
for an ephemeral fulfilment that does not even fulfil its 
name, and quickly disillusions one, and for the nothingness 
of death. That is almost the rule for the man of the present 
age. But waiting only becomes significant for the spirit of 
man if it means waiting for the absolute and the eternal. 
All else is an illusion, vanitas vanitatum. 


680. Those with a well-founded expectation of suffering 
a martyr's death can perhaps endure the far greater agonies 
of dread in imagination, beforehand. For in the reality of 
martyrdom God helps a man;, in his own fantasy, in the 
possibility of his imagination, unlimited by factual reality, 
that is not so. Even Christ, the Son of Man, found the 
momentary dread of anticipation in the Garden indes- 
cribably more agonising than any subsequent moment of 
definite torture in the unavoidable suffering. For then, 
instead of a boundless fantasy, it was the concrete suffering 
that determined the unsurpassable measure of the real 
limit of suffering. 

68L Nowadays, the East interprets its art in western 
terms, because it has none of its own. 

682. Christ always speaks in the last, and absolute, 
spiritual sphere, of man's salvation, that is to say the sal- 
vation of the spirit, the soul and the body of man in relation 
to God and his neighbour. 

683. The unquestionable dignity of the contemplative 
life is stained as though by the ugliest sin, by every 
disregard of the practical command to love God and to 
love and help one's neighbour, so absolute is the command 
to love God and one's neighbour, on which everything 

684. Love alone knows no measure, and yet when it is 
immeasurable, it is measure itself, the divine by which we 
shall be measured. 

685. The corruption began when the dominating idea in 
the hierarchic order ceased to be 'the good', and was re- 
placed by c the beautiful' what is called the Renaissance 
and the result was not a harvest of evil, but the profound 
ugliness of the souls of today. 

1944 211 

686. To be able to say of a writer: whether his adjectives 
come from thought, and are strictly relevant, or from the 
will, expressing wishes and intentions, more or less, or come 
from feeling and are consequently subjective, sub-objective. 

687. The fact that God remembers everything is human, 
and perfectly intelligible; but that God should be able to 
forget, that is what is really inconceivable, for ultimately a 
complete forgiveness of sins means to forget in eternity. 
But then what, if you please, of the existence of an eternal 
hell? What has it got to do with those who are blessed and 
happy? What it means to the blessed? O but, my friend, 
can you really imagine one of the blessed looking at hell? 
For myself, I can't, but there ought not really to be any 
difficulty. God sees it after all, and God is holy. But perhaps 
the blessed will not see it at all. Have any of those who have 
been blessed in time seen hell? Blessed in time only, and 
then in eternity! Will he see hell? Perhaps not, but I 
do not know. But one thing I do know, there is a hell; and 
could one, then, call someone blessed and happy who did 
not see a part of reality, and consequently of truth, at all, 
even though he himself were satisfied? 

688. One of the principal instincts in man is towards 
'pleasure', in the body and in the spirit. Even while he 
suffers, he enjoys in advance, the pleasure of one day relat- 
ing his suffering, and even the poet who can say what he 
has suffered, gets the fullest pleasure from avoiding suffering. 
I think men would be less willing to go to war if this natural 
thirst for pleasure did not express itself in subsequently 
relating great sufferings. Very often the most melancholy 
man is the most pleasure-loving. That is what makes him 
so hard to understand, so ambiguous, so difficult to heal. 
Does he belong among the good? Is the melancholy man 
a good, a kind man? That is not I think the way to set 
about it. Is he bad? Is he guilty? That is not quite right 
either. Rather, he is a man who feels guilty. Without a 


doubt, that is right. But he is, you say, pleasure loving. 
Yes, I really think so. He enjoys his misfortune. And then 
he is vain. Still, that does not prevent his misfortune being 
real, and not something imagined. How deep down the 
instinct for pleasure goes, how unbelievably deep. There is 
however a melancholy that is sheer poison. 

689. The endless chatter about Nietzsche and Kierke- 
gaard is quite hopeless. Outward similarities set up a super- 
ficial sphere of comparison that is utterly meaningless, for 
they are localised and limited by a decisive difference at a 
deeper level; the one prayed, the other did not. And 
people are quite satisfied, and the radical difference is no 
longer perceived. An example of the growing 'blindness 3 
of which I spoke. 

690. Those who are spiritually blind, are not only blind 
to the object they want to see, but blind to their blindness. 
And that, ultimately, is the motive of the words : Forgive 
them for they know not what they do : that indeed, is not 
'blind 5 love, but love which sees. Love that sees the fact 
of this 'blindness 3 . 

691. Historical writing since the Reformation, on the 
Protestant side, is all tendentious, a matter of propaganda. 
History and the truth of history is decided by 'the 
truth 3 of Revelation, whose guardian on earth is the holy, 
Catholic, apostolic Church. There is nothing to be done 
about that; nothing can alter it. Even men of Ranke 3 s 
nobility of mind, striving for pure subjective honesty, must 
fail and make mistakes if they fail to strike the target of 
truth in the centre through their own, or inherited guilt, 
and are led astray from the light of revelation. Not all the 
human virtues put together can attain the goal, which is 
the spotless perfection of true doctrine. The Roman- 
Catholic Church has lacunae because it no longer has within 
its totality the Germanic element, nor has it any longer the 

1944 213 

Greek and Slav elements, nor as yet the Chinese or the 
Indian element. Those are really great lacunae, a great lack 
of fulness and of completeness, but its supernatural core is 
spotless and without lacunae. And those who do not see 
that well, they are blind. Spiritual blindness differs from 
physical blindness in this, that it is not conscious. That is 
the essence of error invincibilis! 

692. The written language must continually be refreshed 
by the spoken language, that is by great writers, whose 
living soliloquies (monologues or dialogues) are spon- 
taneous and lead directly from the heart of feeling to 
language, without going a roundabout way, avoiding the 
usual worn-out, conventional lines, avoiding the old pipe 
lines, choked with old phrases, so furred-up that language 
loses all its flan, all its strength and all its purity. 

*The discerning of spirits 5 , in any sphere, is a gift that 
makes the possessor lonely and, from a worldly point of 
view, unhappy. In a higher sense it is the source of pro- 
found happiness. He cannot communicate himself and his 
certain knowledge with success. Discussions and argument 
are, as he knows, useless. But there also exists, nowadays, 
another gift, 'the discerning of voices'. Those who have it, 
have it; it cannot be communicated. And yet how needful 
it is nowadays, for voices today are so significant. The 
'announcer 5 'reveals' politics and even religion to us, 
is a political functionary, and his function is incalculable 
in its effects upon the feelings of men and of the masses, far 
more decisive than thoughts. Thoughts in themselves are 
far more independent and more abstract than the voices 
that express and announce them, than the feelings that are 
voiced by and fused with certain voices. Today on the 
wireless I heard Kayssler making his fine and in itself 
'expressive' voice the vehicle of hollow lyrical idiocy. And 
I had the familiar experience, that alarming impression 
which can be made upon one by a discrepancy between 


things which ought to belong 'together'. Why is it that men 
have the power of dividing up what is living as though it 
were dead, and exchanging the parts, or separating them 
just as they please? Of handling the inner as though it were 
the outer, and the reverse? That is one of the principal 
reasons why life does not c add up'. There is a 'true' disorder 
in this aeon. And moreover the inmost things can be torn 
apart in a way in which outward things cannot be. 

694. Sufficient understanding for the day but no, that 
never satisfies us, even though the day were an aeon. We 
want the absolute and nothing else. The 'fame' of this 
world only makes the pilgrim of the absolute all the more 
melancholy; the more fame he has or can have, the greater 
his melancholy, the longer it lasts. And isn't the insipidity 
and worldliness of Faust due to the fact that he is satisfied 
with 'aeons', a bourgeois hero of this world's progress. The 
ordinary Christian who believes is beyond such childish 
notions, and has a further sense of quantity. 

695. There is something cassandra-like and almost sinister 
in not being able to communicate one's most certain 
knowledge, what one sees and hears immediately, not just 
deductions reached somehow or other, among which one 
can so easily go astray but ones immediate intuitions. And 
then one cannot communicate them to others, not even to 
those one loves, and who aren't stupid, simply because they 
neither see nor hear! It is a very strange and very painful 
condition to be in. I can hear something in the voice of the 
official announcer of Deutschlandsender and what an ominous 
double-meaning the word contains in German, with its 
play on the word 'sender' and 'sendung', a mission to me 
absolutely evident, something I could not shake off with the 
best will in the world, a stupid infernal pride that inevitably 
and freely calls down a curse upon itself, the incurable, 
hopeless condition of the soul of the nation that takes 
pleasure in the voice that is identical with it and not even 

1944 215 

the better people notice it. Sometimes I am tempted to beg 
God to spare me so painful an insight and so agonising a 
spiritual hearing. What am I to do? Over and over again 
I try to communicate my despairingly clear knowledge 
spontaneously, I point, as it were, to the tone, the quite 
unmistakable tone that cannot be misunderstood or not 
heard, the tone that is identical with the whole thing and 
the catastrophe, and again and again I am stunned by the 
astounding fact that the tone in the voice is not heard, and 
the sense not understood. What am I to do? Say nothing 
at all? Keep silent? Or speak too late? 

696. 1st May. The 'cul-de-sac 5 referred to in evolu- 
tionary theory particularly in Bergson gives me no rest. 
The spiritual 'cul-de-sacs' that certainly exist, are formed in 
the realm of 'freedom 3 , for spirit and freedom belong 
together. There is always some guilt involved. In the philo- 
sophical systems that lead to cul-de-sacs the intellect 
naturally plays the chief role: error and illusion. But that 
is not all. There is something existential in it too, based 
upon perverted feeling, something ambiguous in the will. 
Intellectually it is always false principles that lead to a 
cul-de-sac, and they are more or less easily demonstrable. 
If the principle behind a statement, whether clearly recog- 
nised or half unconscious, or only darkly implied, includes 
the proposition that the difference among men is greater 
than their equality, and not the reverse, which in my opinion 
is the truth, then that philosophy leads theoretically, and if 
anyone lives according to it, existentially, into a cul-de-sac, 
however broad and however beautiful and fruitful the 
prospect may seem at the outset. Nowadays that is an 
instructive and topical example of how 'guilt' is always 
involved, and not just the 'error 5 of the 'pure' intellect. 

697. There is a great difference between saying something 
differently, or saying something different. And there are 
three kinds of men, all dangerous, who bring about 


confusion at this point. First, there are those who do not see 
the difference at all. They are not much good at thinking, 
which does not however hinder them from writing, and often 
writing quite a lot. The result is the type of doctrine known 
as 'liberalism'. The two other kinds are more dangerous. 
Those who denounce any and every different view of the 
same object as the description of a different object; they 
narrow and confine all that is vital. The most dangerous 
of all however is the man who merely pretends to describe 
an important object differently, but in fact describes some- 
thing quite different. That has done great mischief in 
philosophy and theology. 

698. The Germans tend by nature to the heresy of Pelagius 
and of Arius, by nature, that is by their own ability, that 
makes them proud, and by their own pride, that makes them 
intellectually shallow. 

699. Warf er nicht hoher den Ball in die Luft als jeder 
andere? Und flach traf sein Kiesel die Flache des Sees und 
hiipfte zehnmal. 'Did'nt he throw the ball higher into the 
air than any of the others? And his pebble struck the 
surface of the sea so smoothly that it bounced ten times'. 
That is well told, in every respect, though of course its 
content is unimportant. And nevertheless the sentences 
remain stuck in my memory on account of their rhythm. 
I cannot remember or whistle a melody, not even the 
simplest, but even the emptiest sentences remain in my 

memory simply on account of their rhythm Of all 

delights the noblest is surely the delight in language, 
language which as a symbol is so entirely different from the 
object, and from the 'being 5 to which it corresponds and 
then again it is indescribably one with them! 

700. 29th May. 'Einmalig', unique, though literally it 
means 'happening but once'. A word that ought not, 
properly speaking, to be used more than once, and that has 

1944 217 

become the most worn of old cliches. All the throat clearing 
and the spitting that goes on is 'unique'. Perhaps, but the 
absurdity of it is surely 'einmalig'? 

701. All that I write down tends, quite by itself, to grow 
into a dialogue. My mind always tends to fall at once into 
conversation with another, with a 'you 3 . And what of my 
soliloquy! There indeed I am alone, and that only places me 
all the more absolutely before God. My partner then is the 
eternal 'You', the transcendent You, my Creator, my 
Lord and my God. 

702. 4th June. My sixty-fifth birthday. The entry of the 
Allies into Rome! 

The President of the State Literary Bureau writes to me 
as follows e On this your sixty-fifth birthday, on the 4th 
June, I wish to convey to you the best wishes of German 
Authors (deutschen Schrifttums!) as well as my own'. What's 
that? What's that? Has Herr Johst the faintest idea who 
I am? In that case he certainly knows nothing about this 
letter. And if he knows of the letter, then he cannot know 
anything about me. There remains, however, the well- 
founded suspicion that the letter is the automatic product 
of a well-ordered card-index system where the number 
8814 that is my number gives out the name Theodor 
Haecker, my birthday and my address. That is the only 
possible way of giving the thing any kind of meaning, 
although of course there are still a number of other pos- 
sibilities. But why bother. 

703. I know a tragic man whose writing is tragic and who 
regards God as the most tragic person of all. He cannot get 
away from that. He is eternally enveloped in tragedy. And 
that gives his writing a terrible reality. He is capable of 
talking of the silent jubilation of the mystics with the 
unmistakable note of the silent despair of Kierkegaard's 
father. He possesses the language and the being of an 


objective, scientific melancholy that is absolutely impene- 
trable. Now Kierkegaard did not have that, although his 
melancholy was unlimited; for at times he did break 
through it, did really break out of it, so that he could really 
breathe freely, and let his reader breathe freely. 

704. 9th June. Friday morning towards ten o'clock. In 
the cellar. High-explosive bomb. The house and my flat 
destroyed. Unbelievable destruction. Some good people, 
helpers, people who console me by being what they are and 
by helping! ScholL And also some crapule. Upright souls. 
And miserable souls. God is merciful! God is great! God 
is precise, but magnanimous. What has happened to me 
is no injustice. 

705. Even pride has its justification and may be valid in 
God's eyes, if humility has acknowledged it. But it must 
pass before the judgment seat of humility. Otherwise let 
no one believe it! For pride is insidious, and sometimes it 
even apes humility. The one certain court of humility is 
the Cross, on which one hangs with Christ. And the pride 
that is justified after that that one should have! For one 
can have it without danger! 

706. 22nd December. It makes a difference whether a 
writer can suddenly surprise a reader with an unexpected 
turn of phrase or whether one expects something un- 
expected to occur. It also makes a difference whether one 
can read the unexpected passage twice, or only once. 

707. 30th December. The passionate endeavour to paint 
the picture in which H. shall go down to history has recently 
given Goebbels the cramp. But today he surpassed himself: 
he is not only the greatest genius of the world, he is its 
'saviour 9 ; the apocalyptic cretin is not only without shame, 
he has even lost the cleverness of the 'world'. The fool 
thinks that because no one any longer accepts his base and 

1944 219 

fulsome flattery except a few imbecile fanatics, he can write 
his enormous cheque to be drawn on posterity, as though 
it would be honoured with enthusiasm, and brass bands; 
in fact they will not even protest: the cheque will not be 

708. 31st December. This afternoon at three o'clock it 
was announced on the wireless that tonight at c five minutes 
past midnight 5 the Fiihrer would make a speech. The 
manager of this sensation did not of course suspect that 
this only happens in order that the words might be fulfilled : 
C I shall only stop five minutes after midnight*.* 

* The reference is to a speech by Brunning and is an example of the 
senseless ' symbolism ' employed by the Nazis. 

1 945 

709. 1st January. The first broadcast I heard was: the 
Fiihrer spoke 'shortly after midnight' .... no longer 'five 
minutes after midnight'. So they have noticed something 
only too late! De nominibus est curandum (one must be careful 
of one's words), and in time, otherwise it is too late. The 
announcement on 31st December 1944 at three in the 
afternoon: The Fiihrer will speak to the German people 
tonight at five minutes past midnight, is of such appalling 
symbolic power that it simply must bring reality in its train 
in 1945: I shall only stop five minutes past midnight. 
Fiat wluntas tua. 

710. 2nd January. It seems nothing worse, nothing less 
desired could happen to the German people than a miracle. 
It is true that the ghastly individuals who give us the news 
and disguise their wishes as statements, have not tired for 
the last fortnight of describing the German offensive as a 
miracle, as a 'German miracle', though they continued to 
insist that nothing would be more mistaken than to regard 
the German capacity for resistance as a e miracle' , for on the 
contrary, it represents the perfectly understood power of the 
German people, their fanaticism, the genius and the 
thoroughness that explain everything, the careful plans, and 
the natural fact that they are unconquerable. At the last 
moment, it is true, Goebbels spoke of c a miracle of the 
German people', of the only one, and this miracle is : the 

71 L History teaches us that no one feels so disgustingly 
certain of victory, or is so unteachably sure, and immune 
to reason, as the fanatic, and that no one is so absolutely 
certain of ultimate defeat. 


1945 221 

712. 23rd January. One ought to, and may reproach one- 
self alone for not being a saint; on no account anyone else. 

713. No, the practical demonstration of the non-existence 
of God will fail too, just as the theoretical attempt failed and 
always will fail. But the practical attempt is far more 
dangerous and makes a much greater impression on far 
more people than the theoretical. I must admit that the 
victory of the Party in world history, to speak like a fool 
and per impossibile, would have exposed me to the great 
temptation of believing that the non-existence of God had 
been proved or at least but God forgive me for a madman, 
tortured almost to death, forgive me the fog of blasphemy! 
Forgive me daring to understand that 'falling away' and 
that despair. But the practical demonstration will not 
come off. 

714. 30th January. The glory of Europe, its high point, 
and the sign of its election, is that a sentence in Plato, which 
says that it is better to suffer injustice than to commit it, 
should touch from afar the divine revelation of Christ. If 
there is injustice in the world, then the greater worth belongs 
to him who suffers the injustice, not to him who commits it. 
That is astounding, and belongs to another world. Injustice! 
Not power be it noted, for the good and the wicked can use 
power, but not injustice. 

715. 8th February. The unmistakable mark of the false 
prophet, of the prophet of this 'world', is that openly or 
hiddenly he tells men that the way of salvation is broad, and 
the gate wide, whereas in truth and according to the will 
of God, the way is straight and the gate narrow. 

716. In very many cases faith in God is no longer 
much more than faith in a last, saving, straw. But what 
does it matter, if the straw is really God, for God is 


717. 9th February. Man will be judged and sentenced 
according to the order of reason, not according to the order 
of the senses, to which in the first place he also belongs. 
The idea of man, his ideal, is given to him by God, though 
in such a way that it is man who freely gives it to himself, 
and must give it freely to himself, if he is to grow up out of 
the sensual, animal world, in order that he should spirit- 
ualise his body and his senses, and not destroy or treat the 
body with contempt. The union of the sensual and the 
spiritual that alone rightly deserves the name of man, 
raises many difficulties : for example a being that is purely 
sensual, an animal in fact, that is not planned as spirit, 
cannot sin when according to its sensual nature it demands 
and enjoys the pleasures natural to it, for that is just as it 
should be. Every nature that fulfills itself in pleasure does 
the will of God. 



The greatest living Catholic philosopher 
sums up his meditation and teaching of 
thirty years. As his point of departure 
he takes the atheistic existentialism of his 
fellow countryman, Sartre; in contrast to 
that philosophy of despair he outlines 
with vigorous logic and describes with 
burning eloquence his concept of true 
existentialism which is a Christian phj- 
losophy of the intellect, an existential 

THOUGHT: "A/. Maritain with the power 
of a master gives a synthetic view of the 
deeply intelligible but mysterious actuali- 
ty existence', the One and the many 
bound together by the possession of the 
highest perfection: they are. In that mew 
he shows not only the meaning of Being 
but also the connection of the fundamen- 
tal problems of reality with that meaning"